Tobacco abandoned

| March 14, 2018

Farmers in Tanzania’s Ruvuma Region have significantly improved their livelihoods and health after abandoning tobacco in favor of more profitable crops, according to a story in The Daily News.

Tobacco was said to have trapped the farmers in a vicious cycle of poverty and to have increased deforestation.

The Executive Officer of the Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Lutgard Kagaruki, said that more than 70 percent of tobacco growers had abandoned the crop in favor of alternatives such as maize, paddy and legumes, which had proved to surpass tobacco in respect of the total net profit and rates of return they engendered.

Kagaruki said data from Namtumbo District Council indicated that between 2006 and 2014 there had been increased tonnage of both food and cash crops, though a decrease in tobacco production.

Tobacco production had increased by 587 percent from 2006 to 2009 but had dropped by 491 percent between 2010 and 2014.

The News story said there had been considerable debate in recent years about the social, environmental and economic impact of tobacco growing. While Tanzania remained a poor country, it said, tobacco growers were ‘worse off’.

At the same time, the country was losing more than 61,000 ha of forest annually because of tobacco growing and curing.

Despite tobacco’s being a vital foreign currency earner, most local growers of the crop were languishing in abject poverty with nothing tangible to show for their hard work.

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Category: Breaking News, Leaf, Markets, People

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