The Korea Tobacco Growers Organization (KTGO), which represents about 5,000 farmers, has expressed its opposition to new proposals from the World Health Organization, according to a story in The Korea Times.
The Seoul-based organization says that the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) will end up substantially cutting the income of Korean tobacco growers and threatening their livelihood.
The growers have issued their warning two months before representatives of more than 160 FCTC-member countries are due to meet in Seoul to discuss ways of regulating the tobacco industry and cigarette consumption.
“The current proposals go far beyond the FCTC’s original mandate,” said KTCO chairman, Lee Haw-kwon. “They are designed to force all governments to put the tobacco farming industry out of business without providing us with any economically viable alternative crop.
“If the unreasonable proposals pass during the FCTC’s upcoming fifth Conference of Parties, which takes place in Seoul in November, it will put more than 30 million farmers at risk, including Korean tobacco farmers who have been in the industry for more than 400 years.’’
Lee said that originally the FCTC had stated that governments should provide technical and financial assistance to aid the economic transition of tobacco growers and workers whose livelihoods were seriously affected as a consequence of tobacco control policies.
But the newly-suggested FCTC Articles 17 and 18 lacked any mention of helping farmers transfer to other crops.
Lee has asked the Seoul administration to oppose the new proposals in Article 17 and 18, which he said wrongly assumed that a reduction of tobacco farming households would automatically lead to a decrease in cigarette consumption.
Category: Breaking News