iAfrica.com reports that representatives of hundreds of thousands of African tobacco farmers in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe have gathered at the International Tobacco Growers Association Africa Regional Meeting to discuss recommendations made by international regulators the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
The recommendations, farmers argue, are unreasonable measures aimed at phasing out tobacco production without offering the vast African farming community any viable fall-back solutions. This, farmers say, would destroy their livelihoods.
According to Iafrica.com, tobacco farming provides livelihood for millions of people and is also a vital source of foreign revenue for many African countries. The International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA), which represents more than 30 million tobacco farmers and workers around the world, say an entire region's economy is being put at risk by a "new form of imperialism" perpetrated by health officials with no experience in agriculture. The ITGA argues that the FCTC have moved beyond their original intention of helping tobacco farmers find viable alternative crops, in a "complete disregard for the fact that tobacco is one of the only crops that provides sustainable income for many families in this region."
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