FCTC Articles 9 & 10 put Unreasonable Restrictions on Tobacco Crop
The rules that are being recommended by the FCTC under Articles 9 & 10 for adoption by tobacco producing countries like India are very extreme and will have severe and adverse impact on tobacco farming.
Rules such as the ban on all ingredients and additives will make tobacco cultivation and processing impossible in India. Tobacco is an agricultural crop and has seasonal and regional variations. It is therefore, necessary to use to use additives to ensure that tobacco can be processed and products can be manufactured. These guidelines would effectively mean a ban on the tobacco that is grown today in India.
Moreover, tobacco grown in India is largely of the filler grade. Any restriction on the usage of ingredients/additives would make at least 30% of tobacco produced in the country unusable necessitating import of expensive tobaccos by local manufacturers. This can only be at the expense of Indian farmers and at the cost of valuable foreign exchange for the country.
Moreover, with such conditions Indian farmers will find it extremely difficult to find overseas markets for their produce also resulting in a huge loss of foreign exchange currently being earned by Indian farmers. On the other hand illegal shipment of tobacco grown in foreign countries will find its way into India at the expense of local farmers. Any radical ingredient restriction on tobacco grown in the country will only promote the already large and growing illegal cigarette trade in the country.
Policy guidelines under 9 & 10 of the FCTC that impose any unreasonable restriction on tobacco cultivation should be summarily rejected by the Indian Government as there is no viable alternative crop or alternative livelihood sources for the farmers and other dependents on tobacco crop.