Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Destroying tobacco livelihoods

The Framework Convention for Tobacco Control this year threatens sweeping measures that will specifically affect production in Malawi so as to jeopardise their tobacco trade. What kind of grasping megalomaniacs would impose this kind of regime on people with no alternative livelihoods, in the name of health?:
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):
Article 17 Provision of support for economically viable alternative activities 
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.
Article 18 Protection of the environment and the health of persons
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.


Anonymous said...

To give a NGO this power is tantamount to murder through prohibition, to deprive people of there livlihood through their agenda, someone has to be held to account, but these people are not accountable for their actions. Something is very very wrong.
Greg Burrows

Anonymous said...

Yes this kind of intervention is clearly a recipe for success. It is working so well in restricting coca and poppy cultivation after all.

Anonymous said...

Damnation! Everyone should understand that FCTC Treaty is worthless! It has no force whatsoever!
Treaties are just simple agreements between parties to the agreement. They have no legal force whatsoever. When the parties to the treaty do as the treaty suggests, then the treaty works. But there is nothing 'legal' about treaties. They are just loose agreements.
It is no accident that the USA and Switzerland have not ratified that Treaty. The fact is that there was no point to doing so since it is nonsensical. So why did the stupid politicians in the UK sign and ratify this nonsensical treaty?

It can only be that the people who signed and ratified the treaty had no idea whatsoever of what they were signing. Also, it has become very clear that Ministers in the Health Dept are ignorant. The ex-minister Milton MP (who wept when she discovered that she was sacked (as an ASH ET AL puppet), was obviously way out of her depth.

But which of these 'Ministers' have any expertise whatsoever about anything? How many of them are just university graduates who worked for a time as researchers in the Tory/Labour/Liberal party machines? That is, why are so many of our representatives in parliament children?