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Cigarette manufacturing plan for Zambia

| March 19, 2014

Roland Imperial Tobacco Company (RITCO) has said it plans to set up a US$20 million primary processing plant in Zambia’s Lusaka South Multi-facility Economic Zone (LS-MFEZ), according to a Times of Zambia story.

The company, which is wholly Zambian owned and is not connected to the U.K.-based Imperial Tobacco Group, is said to have signed a lease agreement with the LS-MFEZ management.

General manager of the manufacturing division, Aliport Ngoma, indicated the new plant would produce cut rag for its own secondary factory. The operation would greatly benefit from locally grown tobacco, which had “great flavor,” he added.

RITCO is said to have bought “ultra-modern secondary machinery” from Germany, France and Italy for the establishment of Zambia’s only cigarette manufacturing plant, which was being set up in the Makeni Industrial Park at a cost of US$8 million.

Ngoma explained that the Makeni Industrial Park was not able to accommodate both the secondary and primary plants.

Size matters when it comes to warnings

| March 19, 2014

British American Tobacco Philippines (BATP) is objecting to some aspects of a proposed measure that would require graphic warnings to be included on the country’s cigarette packs, according to a story in The Philippine Star.

General manager James Lafferty said that while the company backed the display of picture-based warnings on cigarette packs, the images should be limited to 50 percent of the pack instead of the proposed 60 percent.

Consumers would find it difficult to identify a particular cigarette brand if warnings took up more than half of the pack, he added.

Lafferty is seeking also a longer transition period for the introduction of the new packs than is foreseen in the proposal.

It took time to implement such measures, he was quoted as saying. And, in part, his concern seemed to focus on when the graphics would be made available.

The date on which the packs would have to be introduced should be at least 12 months from the time the implementing agency came up with the pictures, not 12 months after the signing of the law, Lafferty said.

Other concerns raised by the tobacco industry concerned provisions on minimum pack size and the removal of product descriptors.

Poland: a great place to work for Imperial

| March 19, 2014

Imperial Tobacco’s two businesses in Poland have been named among the best companies to work for in the country.

Imperial Tobacco Polska (ITP), the company’s market and operational team in Tarnowo, has earned a Top Employer award for the fourth consecutive year.

And the company’s manufacturing operation in Radom, Imperial Tobacco Polska Manufacturing (ITPM), was recognized by the Top Employers’ Institute for the first time.

“We’re very proud of this achievement, especially the recognition for our manufacturing people,” said Monika Kozior, HR manager at ITPM.

“It’s great for an independent organisation such as the Top Employers’ Institute to highlight that Imperial is a great place to work.”

Meanwhile, Anna Chudzichowska, HR manager at ITP, said she was “delighted” with the certification because it was external confirmation of having the very highest HR standards.

“Ensuring we provide a rewarding workplace is a huge priority for us,” she said. “We value the contribution of our employees and their development.”

China’s proposed new law on tobacco advertising open to public comment

| March 18, 2014

Public health and legal experts in China are urging that a comprehensive ban on tobacco-related advertising and promotion be included in an amended law aimed at curbing smoking, particularly among young people, according to a story in the China Daily.

Public comment on the law is currently underway online and will continue until March 24, according to the State Council’s legislative affairs website.

Xu Guihua, deputy director of the Chinese Association on Tobacco Control, said that the new law was an improvement on the current version but still lagged behind the World Health Organization’s standards.

According to Jiang Yanming, a divisional director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, the amendments expand the existing advertising limitations to new media forms, including the Internet and electronic publications.

Also, some additional places, including libraries, art galleries, museums, public parks and public transportation, would be covered by the new law.

The amended law would better meet the demands of the public in accordance with the practical situation in the country, he said.

Meanwhile, Fabio Scano, head of disease control at WHO’s China office, said the State Council’s consideration of amendments provided an important opportunity to strengthen China’s tobacco-control policy.

Tobacco said to threaten food security

| March 18, 2014

Food security in Bangladesh could be under threat because of the government’s failure to discourage a rapid growth in tobacco plantings, according to a story in the New Age quoting unnamed specialists at the Department of Agriculture’s extension service.

The department’s spokespeople said that tobacco acreage in Bangladesh had gone from 29,290 ha in fiscal year 2007–2008 to 55,950 ha in 2012–2013, while tobacco production had gone from 40,240 tonnes to 103,650 tonnes during the same period.

And they said that tobacco production was gradually shifting from the north to the south and hill districts.

Tobacco companies were said to recruit farmers by offering them free seeds, fertilizers, insecticides and whatever they needed for cultivation. But declining profits for traditional crops were also blamed for large numbers of farmers switching from rice to tobacco.

Unnamed anti-tobacco campaigners were quoted as saying that tobacco companies won over farmers by promising profits that often did not materialize.

They bought farmers’ crops and guaranteed a steady demand and stable prices.

And farmers did not have to worry about selling their leaf because the buyers came to their farms to buy it.

The campaigners said, however, that many farmers later realized that growing tobacco was not as profitable as it had seemed to be, but they were unable to quit tobacco because they could not repay the loans they had taken from the companies.

Tobacco growing shrinking in Kyrgyzstan

| March 18, 2014

This year, Kyrgyzstan will reduce the area under tobacco by 500 ha, according to a Times of Central Asia story.

The Times was relaying a KyrTAG news agency report citing Jumabek Asylbekov, head of the food security and agro-marketing department at Kyrgyzstan’s Agriculture Ministry.

“The area under tobacco shrinks every year,” said Asylbekov, who added that the total area under tobacco in Kyrgyzstan today was 3,000 ha.

The ministry says it is keen to introduce a mechanized harvesting system to Kyrgyz tobacco fields.

“Tobacco growing is a profitable business, but it requires hard manual labor that is detrimental to health,” said Asylbekov. “So it is necessary to mechanize tobacco harvesting.”

The ministry has apparently developed a mechanized-harvesting concept and is now looking for investors to take the concept forward.

Meanwhile, the Times story quoted Asylbek Toktogulov, chairman of the Trade Unions Federation of Kyrgyzstan, as saying that last year about 4,000 children and young people aged between six and 18 were relieved from having to work in tobacco fields in Kyrgyzstan.

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