Tobacco Farmers Unite in Condemning WHO's Plan to Threaten 30 Million Jobs

ITGA Launches Global Petition Campaign to Oppose Draconian Measures

CASTELO BRANCO, PORTUGAL, Sept. 12, 2012 /CNW/ - More than 30 million tobacco farmers worldwide today reacted with outrage to the publication of new proposals to regulate tobacco farming by the World Health Organization's (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), vowing to rally governments to oppose the measures.

"By suggesting governments phase out tobacco growing, these ideological recommendations put the jobs of more than 30 million farmers at risk without providing them with any economically viable alternative crops," said Antonio Abrunhosa, the chief executive officer of the International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA).  "The WHO has consistently refused to listen to tobacco growers in drafting the proposals that directly impact this industry.  By doing so, they've become like a blind man driving a steamroller."

The current proposals [1] go far beyond the FCTC's original mandate [2].  They are designed to force tobacco growers out of business by creating artificial restrictions on tobacco supply while failing to address the growing demand for the crop.  This is being done through recommendations that seek to:

  • Restrict production by regulating the seasons in which tobacco can be grown
  • Reduce the area allocated for tobacco farming
  • Ban financial or technical support for tobacco farmers

More absurd and discriminatory recommendations such as, banning contracts between farmers and their clients or banning bank loans to tobacco growers were already refused by governments from tobacco growing countries, but may be proposed again at the next Conference of the Parties (CoP5), which takes place in Seoul from November 12th - 17th, 2012.

"Now is the time for governments to act and oppose these draconian measures," Abrunhosa said.   To rally governments worldwide in opposition to the measures, the ITGA is launching a global petition campaign, available online and through growers' associations.  The petition calls on government leaders to "Reject these irrational and destructive proposals in favour of a more realistic approach that will help tobacco farmers adapt if and when the demand for tobacco evolves."

The petition is available online at http://protectfarmers.tobaccoleaf.org/join-our-fight.aspx

Notes to Editors:

  1. These proposals relate to 'Articles 17&18' and will be discussed at COP 5 (Conference of the Parties), which takes place in Seoul from November 12th-17th, 2012.   All 175 countries who have signed the WHO's 'Framework Convention on Tobacco Control' (FCTC) are eligible to attend the Conference and vote.

  2. The original goals of the FCTC stated that governments should provide: "technical and financial assistance to aid the economic transition of tobacco growers and workers whose livelihoods are seriously affected as a consequence of tobacco control programs."

  3. For further information or to arrange an interview with ITGA Chief Executive and tobacco farmer, Antonio Abrunhosa, please contact John Read (m: +447774476391) or David Alexander (m: +447802412424) at john.read@readdillon.com or david@readdillon.com

SOURCE: The International Tobacco Growers' Association

For further information:

For further information or to arrange an interview with ITGA Chief Executive and tobacco farmer, Antonio Abrunhosa, please contact John Read (m: +447774476391) or David Alexander (m: +447802412424) at john.read@readdillon.com or david@readdillon.com

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The International Tobacco Growers' Association

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