Tobacco production in Malawi dates back to over 110 years ago and TAMA as an organization for the tobacco farmers was founded in 1929. The founding objectives of the Association were generally to promote and develop the tobacco industry in Malawi with particular emphasis on protecting and advancing the interests of the tobacco growers through advocacy, information dissemination, tobacco markets promotion, etc. The Tobacco Association of Malawi got registered as a TRUST in 1983 and its constitution gives no unlimited mandate in as far as promoting the TAMA objectives are concerned that include the promotion and the improvement of the economic and general welfare of the grower members.

Prior to 1994, before liberalization of tobacco production in Malawi, all tobaccos were produced by Estate owners except for Dark fired tobacco which was being produced by the smallholders. With the onset of tobacco production liberalization in 1994, smallholders were allowed to venture into Burley and Flue Cured tobacco. Up to until 2004, membership to TAMA was mandatory but with the tobacco industry sector changes that were introduced in 2004, membership to TAMA became voluntary, and this challenged the survival of TAMA for its relevance and future.