28 October 2016

On World Tobacco Growers' Day Millions of Leaf Farmers Call on their Governments to Safeguard their Livelihoods

press release

High Court of India rules farmers have a right to be heard at upcoming tobacco control conference Growers seek :

  • Proper consultation and active participation in the development of policies directly affecting them – specifically, the upcoming WHO FCTC Conference of the    Parties (CoP) meeting in November;
  • Recognition  of  the significant economic contribution tobacco -­ growing brings to their national economies;   and
  • Solid impact assessments to be carried out  when the Convention proposes measures.

Millions of tobacco farmers spanning fifteen  countries across the globe today celebrated the Fourth World Tobacco Growers ' Day (WTGD) , an initiative launched    by the International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) in 2012 to help raise awareness of  the concerns of tobacco - growing communities worldwide .

Growers from Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, the Philippines , Indonesia, India, Macedonia, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe took part  in the    activities , promoting tobacco -­ growing and  the significant contribution that it brings to their respective regions and countries .

Speaking on behalf of its membership, ITGA President, Mr. Daniel Green, commented: " Tobacco-­growers provide a legal crop for a legal market-­something     governments must recognize. This is not only an important,  but in most cases,  the main cash crop for many agriculture-based economies, and it helps to    enhance  the livelihoods of millions of farmers, rural workers and their families across the globe . On the occasion of WTGD, growers call on their governments to  assure a sustainable future for them and their families in the face of the many uncertainties facing the tobacco market as a result of steep declines in demand     and  the absence of  viable alternatives for  farmers, to ensure the subsistence of tobacco-­growing communities . " A number of strict regulatory measures for tobacco    growers are set to be discussed at the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the WHO Framework Convention on  Tobacco Control (FCTC), in Delhi , India (7 -­‐ 12    November).

Previously, the FCTC has excluded tobacco growers from not only participating in past meetings but from observing the proceedings from public galleries and     have not been afforded one single opportunity  to present the realities of their sector.

The High Court of India, in response  to  concerns raised by the Federation of All India Farmers Association (FAIFA) recently ruled that the farmers have the  right    to apply as an observer at the Conference as growers around the world are currently excluded from proper representation at the Conference.

Note to the Editor :

In many countries, tobacco is the main cash crop for farmers and as such,  is an important and irreplaceable source of income. In Malawi, for instance, a country    where more than half of the population lives in extreme poverty -­‐ mostly    in    rural    areas -­‐ tobacco exports account for 70 percent of  foreign currency income,  and tobacco -­‐ growing generates 1.8 million direct jobs and almost 5 million jobs indirectly across the entire tobacco supply chain . (http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/malawi/overview ). African  tobacco  sector infographics (link to infographics) http://tobaccoleaf.org/UserFiles/file/Infographic/AFRICA_INFOGRAPHICS.pdf

In Latin America, the growing sector generates over one million jobs, and in countries such as Brazil , foreign currency income from tobacco -­‐ growing amounts to  US$2 . 15 billion per annum . Latin American tobacco sector infographics (link to infographics) http://tobaccoleaf.org/UserFil es/file/Infographic/Americas_Infographic.pdf

Meanwhile, in Asia,  in the case of Indonesia,  tobacco sales account for 11.3 percent of  sales taxes and surtaxes, according to the Indonesian Ministry of    Finance,    while the sector generates almost  2 million direct jobs and the tobacco value chain as a whole,  some 6 million jobs. Asia Tobacco Sector infographics  (Link    to    infographics) http://tobaccoleaf.org/UserFiles/file/Infographic/ASIA.pdf

About ITGA :

The International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) is a non -­ profit entity that promotes the cause of millions of tobacco growers around the world. The ITGA    advocates for the inclusion of tobacco growers in global discussions, trying to provide them with a strong collective voice in the international  arena to ensure     protection for them and  their families. Read more here: www.tobaccoleaf.org ###

For media inquiries please contact:

Mercedes Vázquez

ITGA PR  Officer    

pr@tobaccoleaf.org

+351 910362075

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