Governments across the world have long been supporting tobacco farms through substantial subsidies.
5 urgent reasons governments should stop subsidising tobacco farming - WHO
Here are 5 urgent reasons why governments should stop subsidizing tobacco farming
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) is urging governments to reconsider these practices and shift their support towards more sustainable crops.
Through their latest report "Grow food, not tobacco," the organization highlights some pressing issues that need attention, and sheds light on the negative consequences of tobacco farming.
It also exposes the tobacco industry's deceptive practices in perpetuating tobacco cultivation.
Here are five major reasons why governments should stop subsidizing tobacco farming according to WHO.
Protecting public health
According to WHO, tobacco consumption is responsible for a staggering 8 million deaths each year.
By prioritizing the growth of food crops over tobacco, governments can actively promote public health and reduce the burden of tobacco-related diseases.
Tobacco farming often involves the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides that pollute the environment and damage ecosystems.
By redirecting subsidies to sustainable food crops, governments can help preserve precious ecosystems, safeguard biodiversity, and promote sustainable agricultural practices that are environmentally friendly.
Ensuring food security
With over 300 million people worldwide facing acute food insecurity, it is crucial to prioritize food production.
Surprisingly, more than 3 million hectares of land in over 120 countries are currently dedicated to growing tobacco instead of food.
By supporting sustainable food crops, governments can enhance food security, ensure an adequate food supply for their populations, and alleviate hunger.
Breaking cycle of debt
The tobacco industry has a notorious reputation for trapping farmers in a vicious cycle of debt.
The industry exaggerates the economic benefits of tobacco growing while disregarding the long-term financial hardships it causes for farmers.
By ending subsidies and promoting alternative crops, governments can free farmers from this cycle, empowering them to pursue more economically viable and sustainable farming practices.
Safeguarding children's rights
Shockingly, more than 1 million child laborers are estimated to be working on tobacco farms, robbing them of educational opportunities and subjecting them to hazardous conditions.
By shifting away from tobacco farming, governments can protect children's rights, ensure their access to education, and offer them healthier and safer environments for their development.
As part of the Tobacco Free Farms initiative, organizations such as WHO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, and the World Food Programme are already providing support to farmers in Kenya and Zambia to transition from tobacco to sustainable food crops.
These initiatives aim to create healthier communities and contribute to global efforts in tobacco control.
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