Tobacco cultivation is increasing in Bangladesh and anti-tobacco campaigners want the government to intervene, according to a bdnews24.com story.
The campaigners were said to have cited figures from the Directorate of Agricultural Expansion showing that tobacco cultivation had increased from 70,000 ha during the 2012-13 growing season to 108,000 ha during the 2013-14 season.
Lawmakers, researchers, activists and journalists at a policy dialogue organised by the Anti-tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) said tobacco companies lured poor farmers into cultivating tobacco.
MP Saber Hossain Chowdhury, who is also an anti-tobacco campaigner, said tobacco farming was posing a threat to food security as well as to public health.
Additionally, it destroyed forests and damaged the environment and ecology.
Chowdhury said farmers should be induced to cultivate alternative crops on land currently under tobacco and adopt a policy of gradually phasing out tobacco farming.
Earlier this month, The Financial Express reported that tobacco growers had urged the government to support them in producing alternative crops.
The farmers were said to have made these ‘demands’ at a press conference entitled Voice of victims: Non-profitable tobacco farming, allurement to harmful profit held at the National Press Club.
The ATMA was said to have taken the initiative to support the farmers in placing their demands.