Tamarind grows in Malawi. The tree is native to Africa but is known to grow in other parts of the world including India and Malaysia. India is the world’s largest producer of Tamarind, and the fruit (which is commonly exported as a paste) is an ingredient that is used in many Indian recipes, including in Mexican and Chinese medicines. It has many uses, both in the home (e.g. cooking, remedies) and for industrial purposes (e.g. in medicines). India’s total exports of Tamarind (including fresh, dried, concentrate and seeds) were worth Rs 2530.81 lakh in 2002 /03 [Source: Underutilized and Underexploited Horticultural Crops, Volume 1 ], equivalent to £3,543,134 in today’s money [according to Nov 2002 exchange rates on likeforex.com].
While I don’t know of any Tamarind products originating from Malawi, I wonder whether anyone has ever thought of exporting it from Southern Africa. Already, many continental traders in the UK have been stocking it, in some cases, throughout the year, and in the case of the above picture, from Thailand, a country 5800 miles away. While this is a weak argument, surely there are closer places to source it from?