LAGOS, Nigeria--The declaration by the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) that "there's now a unified voice throughout Southern and East Africa that's determined to protect the land, the jobs, and the communities sustained by tobacco farming" is “cheap propaganda”, says Africa Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC).
Akinbode Oluwafemi, ATCC Director, has urged "Health Ministers in Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe to resist all attempts by the Tobacco Industry to use the ITGA to undermine progress on implementation of the WHO FCTC in their countries".
ATCC says the "cheap propaganda and tobacco industry tactics" are a "gimmick that will not hold".
Last month, an ITGA Africa Regional Meeting released a statement on declaration of opposition issued from agricultural leaders from Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe saying the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) threatens the region's jobs and local economies.
Reacting to ITGA's claim about FCTC, the African coordinator of Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) Tih Armstrong Ntiabang warned that Africa will not allow any inch of interference from tobacco industry.
"It is not a mere coincidence that such a propaganda is emanating from the ITGA at a time the whole continent is marking the World No Tobacco Day, and is standing together against the killer industry. We know tobacco industry tactics, and we will resist every inch of it," he said.
He said the statement by Antonio Abrunhosa, chief executive officer of the ITGA was “misleading and a deliberate attempt to raise opposition against the WHO Treaty, using tobacco farmers.”
ATCC says the statement can create “the impression that African states that have taken leadership role in ensuring that the health of their citizens is protected by supporting provisions of the FCTC, do not have the welfare of the tobacco farmer at heart.
“On the contrary, we all as Africans, except the tobacco industry, are stakeholders in this process, and we will not allow any group working in the interest the tobacco industry to undermine our collective efforts.
“We wish to make it very clear that the FCTC does not in any way undermine the livelihood of any citizen, including the tobacco farmers.”
The Africa Tobacco Control Consortium is a coalition of public health organizations focused on preventing a tobacco epidemic in Africa.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment