The Myths of Profits from Tobacco Farming
Tobacco consumption and production have reached alarming proportions in developing nations. The claims of prosperity from tobacco cultivation by tobacco companies deliberately obscure the downsides of tobacco farming.
Revenues from tobacco farming may appear advantageous to both farmers and national governments but the cost is also high relative to other crops. Decline in farm productivity, low fetching prices for crop, indebtedness, exposure to health and environmental hazards put tobacco farmers and their families at a clear disadvantage.
Governments also do not substantially earn from tobacco production as revenues fall behind the projected amounts. Many countries are also net importers of tobacco leaf, losing millions of dollars each year in foreign exchange. In the end, only transnational companies reap the benefits from tobacco farming.
To muddle the truth even further, transnational tobacco companies including Philip Morris International, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco International, among others, sponsor the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA). The ITGA is a front group that rallies the rights of tobacco farmers, but in reality, promotes the interests of the tobacco industry and curtails the implementation of effective tobacco control measures.
Save Our Farmer is a regional campaign of the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) in response to mounting efforts of the tobacco industry in misleading the public and creating fear at the expense of tobacco farmers worldwide.
SEATCA is a multi-sectoral alliance established to support ASEAN countries in developing and putting in place effective tobacco control policies as outlined in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).