Indian tobacco growers have asked the Government to ensure a berth for them in the global talks that seek to put a clamp on tobacco crop. Irked at not being taken as members of the Indian delegation at the recent talks at Korea recently, the tobacco growers demanded that they need to be heard as they are the key stakeholders.

They asked for representation in the Working Group being currently constituted to draft recommendations on Articles 17 and 18 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) at the 6th Conference of Parties (CoP 6) to be held next year.

These articles are aimed at reducing the tobacco crop size across the globe, keeping in view the resistance to this crop.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and Union Ministers of Agriculture, Commerce, Health and Family Welfare and External Affairs, they explained how vital their presence in the new working group.

They are alleging that the farmers are not being shown viable alternatives to shift from tobacco cultivation.

“The delegation from India who had been sent to the global talks to decide upon the fate of the eight crore tobacco farmers in India had little knowledge or background of crops and agricultural conditions in India,” the farmers alleged.

They alleged that five large tobacco growing countries such as the US, Argentina and Zimbabwe have not signed the FCTC. The farmers in these five countries will stand to gain if tobacco crop is curbed in India because they do not need to comply with FCTC led crop reduction.

kurmanath.kanchi@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on January 23, 2013)
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