Anti-Farmer Policies Ignore Livelihood Implications

  • Anti-Tobacco NGOs are Influencing Tobacco Control Policy and Propagating Anti-Farmer Measures
  • Anti-tobacco NGOs are promoting extreme tobacco regulations in India such as high taxes and excessively large pictorial warnings. Such measures have not reduced overall tobacco consumption in the country but are providing huge boost to illegal cigarette trade
  • Anti-tobacco propaganda spread by these NGOs is based on inadequate and misleading information with the sole objective of influencing Policy Makers and Opinion Leaders
  • Unreasonable Govt. policies have caused sharp decline in legal cigarettes affecting demand for locally grown tobaccos and farmers’ earnings. Faced with acute financial distress, many tobacco farmers committed suicide
  • Excessive regulation such as the 85% warning on tobacco product packs has provided a boost to smuggled cigarettes that do not carry the specified warning. Illegal cigarettes do not use Indian tobaccos aggravating the plight of the Indian Tobacco Farmers
  • The top 5 tobacco growing countries, representing around 90% of world’s tobacco production, have an average warning size of only 23%
  • Even the top 3 cigarette consuming countries (USA, China & Japan, accounting for half of world cigarette consumption) do not have pictorial warnings
  • The prosperity of Indian FCV Tobacco Farmers is closely linked with the domestic cigarette industry. Unless the Government adopts a reasonable and moderate approach on tobacco control, a solution to the current hardships of the tobacco farmers is impossible
  • Withdrawal of export incentives on Tobacco under the Government’s new Foreign Trade Policy is affecting India’s tobacco export prospects and making the domestic crop situation worse
  • Indian tobacco farmers are facing a serious threat to their livelihood due to the anti-farmer policies pursued by the NGOs who are ignorant of the huge socio-economic significance of tobacco in India particularly the livelihood dependency of millions of Indians on tobacco
  • Large tobacco producing countries like USA, Indonesia, Argentina, and Malawi support their farming community and have not even ratified the WHOs FCTC due to socio-economic significance of tobacco
  • Despite failing to provide any viable alternative crop to tobacco growers WHO and the NGOs are seeking shifting of growers away from tobacco cultivation
  • Among many other unreasonable recommendations, WHO and the NGOs also want to prohibit interaction of tobacco growers with Government bodies and policymakers. This would be a huge blow to our rights as it will block all avenues for us to represent our concerns to policymakers
  • Government should resist adoption of unreasonable measures and ensure regulatory policy does not cause devastation to the livelihood of poor tobacco farmers in India.

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