MPs in Uganda have queried why tobacco farmers look poor while tobacco companies look rich, according to a story by John Odyek for The New Vision.
The MPs were apparently attending a meeting at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel to discuss the Tobacco Control Bill 2014.
“People who have planted tobacco live in grass-thatched houses,” said David Muhumuza (Mwenge North). “Are our farmers getting anything?”
Compared to other farmers, tobacco farmers are relatively well off. The Uganda National Household Income Survey 2012–2013 showed that average monthly household incomes for rural areas stood at UGX325,000, while tobacco farmers earned more than UGX426,624 per month.
Some of the MPs were said to have asked tobacco companies to ensure that growers who receive cash payments don’t misuse them for “pleasures.”
The story didn’t mention whether the consumption of tobacco products might be regarded as such a misuse.
Jonathan D’Souza, the managing director of British American Tobacco Uganda, was quoted as saying his company had helped more than 20,000 tobacco farmers open bank accounts in Post Bank at a cost of UGX1.2 billion.
There were 60,000 tobacco farmers in more than 25 districts and tobacco was one of the leading foreign exchange earners for Uganda.
BAT Uganda supported food security for farmers through the issuance of free hybrid maize seed in its annual Food After Tobacco program, and engaged in afforestation programs to ensure that tobacco growing and curing activities had a minimal impact on the environment, added D’Souza.
Category: Breaking News