Francois van der Merwe, chairman of International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) Africa Region, has reacted to proposals by international regulators that will restrict - and eventually prevent - farmers in Africa from producing tobacco, destroying thousands of jobs.
"The Framework Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC) is going into the soft underbelly of the value chain," said Van der Merwe. "They're going into farmers and want to forcefully remove them and prevent them from growing tobacco." He said the current FCTC's proposals will prevent government and industry programmes and policies that support tobacco growing; restrict the amount of land on which tobacco can be grown; and reduce tobacco production across the globe.
The original mandate of the FCTC was to assist tobacco farmers with alternative crops as the demand for tobacco decreased. "We support the FCTC's objectives of reducing tobacco consumption globally, but that is not what is happening. Tobacco consumption is very stable, so it is unfair that farmers are being targeted by these latest proposals," he concluded.