During its meeting held in Geneva last week, the sub-committee has, among other things proposed that banning of minimum support prices and leaf auctions, restrict production by regulating the seasons in which tobacco can be grown, reduce the area allocated for tobacco farming, as well as ban financial or technical support for tobacco farmers.
WHO also wants all bodies connecting governments with growers to be dismantled.The tobacco growers association ITGA reported on this back in June, referring to articles 17 and 18 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (see sidebar):
Parties shall, in cooperation with each other and with competent international and regional intergovernmental organizations, promote, as appropriate, economically viable alternatives for tobacco workers, growers and, as the case may be, individual sellers.
In carrying out their obligations under this Convention, the Parties agree to have due regard to the protection of the environment and the health of persons in relation to the environment in respect of tobacco cultivation and manufacture within their respective territories.Article 17 says nothing about strangling the industry without viable alternatives for the growers. The ITGA's position is that there are no viable alternatives, no research has been done, and the growers have been kept away from talks: evident in the proposal outlined above to dismantle cooperation between growers and governments.
Two organisations that might have an impact in this situation: the International Labour Organization, which is a UN organisation and so officially probably shares some of the anti-tobacco agenda, but also probably contains some very experienced people. And the IUF: 'uniting food, farm and hotel workers worldwide', is an international union. Could they at least express an opinion? It seems incredible that such outrageous interference with national farming activities should be allowed by a supranational body with no democratic mandate.
This story has just popped up too.