I Conforzi (Tea & Tobacco) Ltd

I. Conforzi (Tea & Tobacco) Ltd.


Ignaco Conforzi (b.1885) was an Italian immigrant that brought with him a diploma of agricultural science to Nyasaland in 1907 as a manager with the Blantyre and East Africa Company. In 1909 he began his own tobacco plantation in the Cholo district. By the end of WWI, he was a major producer for the Imperial Tobacco Company.

In 1923 he established a link with Gallaher Ltd, a Belfast tobacco company. It was here that his wealth developed. In the following year he began a successful plan to purchase tobacco from independent peasants in the Central Province. In 1928, he switched from tobacco to tea on his Cholo estates and also acquired substantial land holdings in the Lilongwe and Fort Manning districts.

By 1935 he owned 54% of the tobacco market, owning ten tobacco estates and six tea plantations. In 1939 he converted his private enterprise into a British-based company, I. Conforzi (Tea & Tobacco) Ltd. This ensured that when Britain declared war on Italy in 1940, the Government did not expropriate the company.

In 2001, the plantation went into liquidation and was acquired two years later by a Limbe-based Asian firm.


  • A History of Malawi 1859-1966 – John McCracken
  • Historical Dictionary of Malawi – Owen J. M. Kalinga
  • James Gavin