BCP News Brief – Farmers Celebrate World Tobacco Grower’s Day Worldwide
Today marks the first ever World Tobacco Grower’s Day (WTGD) and tobacco farmers around the world are celebrating. The International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) is leading dozens of events around the globe in hopes to highlight the impact World Health Organisation proposals could have on farmers’ livelihoods if passed in just a few weeks. These events bring together the world’s tobacco growers to demonstrate the social and economic contribution tobacco farmers make to their communities.
This year WTGD events are focusing on the imposing threats from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). If certain proposals are passed the following regulations could be enforced on tobacco farmers:
-Artificially limit or reduce the land to cultivate and deny farmers the right to grow tobacco
-Regulate the seasons of the year in which tobacco farming is allowed
-Ban tobacco farmers from working with their clients to improve crops yields, health and safety conditions and the crops environmental impacts to improve practices, health and safety conditions, prevent labor abuses, and minimize environmental impact
-Dismantle the bodies relating tobacco farmers with their governments
-Introduce mandatory “rehabilitation programs” that would force growers into other crops, regardless of the economic viability of that crop
“We’re celebrating the benefits our farms bring to our communities and are asking our leaders to stand with us, to hear our voices and to give us the opportunity to work together to protect our way of life,” said Antonio Abrunhosa, chief executive officer of the International Tobacco Growers Association.
The goal of these events is to bring awareness to how detrimental these proposals would be on farmers. Farmers are asking governments to join in and protect, not penalize poor tobacco farmers. Tobacco farmers all over the world share similar problems, threats and challenges, regardless of their size.
“Contrary to FCTC’s claims, not a single smoker will stop smoking because of these proposals,” said Abrunhosa. “All they will do is spread misery among farmers and their families in some of the least developed countries in the world. We are asking the FCTC to respect its own principles and accept growers’ knowledge and opinions on issues that impact their livelihoods.”
Visit http://www.tobaccoleaf.org/ for more information on the International Tobacco Growers Association.