On the occasion of the World No Tobacco Day Unfairtobacco.org releases the study Alternative Livelihoods to Tobacco. Approaches & Experiences.

May 31st is World No Tobacco Day, an annual event created by the World Health Organization (WHO) that has been held every year since 1988. On this occasion, Unfairtobacco.org releases its latest study Alternative Livelihoods to Tobacco. Approaches & Experiences.

World No Tobacco Day 2012: tobacco industry interference

The theme for this year’s World No Tobacco Day is tobacco industry interference. With good reason, since over the pasts two years, tobacco companies have increasingly resorted to legal action in order to undermine tobacco control efforts. Several events this year deal with this topic.

Big Tobacco’s Interference in Tobacco Cultivation

In Southern countries, tobacco industry interference is impacting the future of tobacco farmers. Under the pretence of defending the rights of “poor” tobacco growers, companies have argued that without tobacco cultivation, people in less industrialised countries would live in greater poverty. Big Tobacco’s strategy involves introducing supposedly sustainable tobacco cultivation methods as well as Social Responsibility projects that improve the living conditions of farming families just enough so that these will continue engaging in tobacco growing activities. However, through these strategies tobacco companies are essentially aiming to secure a continued supply of tobacco leaf at permanently low prices.

There are Alternatives

The study Alternative Livelihoods to Tobacco. Approaches & Experiences provides an insight into existing projects and approaches to alternatives. Authors from Brazil, Kenya and Bangladesh present their respective projects.  Based on this, the editors discuss the issues involved in the process of shifting out of tobacco cultivation before concluding with some recommendations.

“It is a myth that tobacco is a cash crop with no alternative”, says Sonja von Eichborn, project coordinator at Unfairtobacco.org, “There are alternatives and these can lead to improved living conditions for former tobacco growers. In the study, we highlight two important aspects to consider for the process of shifting out of tobacco production:

1. Farmers have to be involved at every stage of the planning process

2. Merely replacing tobacco by another monoculture cash crop is no long-term solution to the issues involved in tobacco production.”

A German version of the study will be available as a web publication in the coming weeks.

For more information contact:

Sonja von Eichborn: eichborn@unfairtobacco.org

Tel.: +49-(0)30-694 6101

It is a myth that tobacco is a cash crop with no alternative.