No place at COP7 for growers

| October 4, 2016

The International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) has accused the World Health Organization of side-lining the tobacco growing industry when making decisions that have an effect on it, according to a story on the Independent Online and in The Post (South Africa).

ITGA president Francois van der Merwe said the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control had banned dozens of officials representing tobacco growing countries from participation in its Conference of the Parties (COP7) in Delhi, India, next month.

“We have been trying to engage the WHO on health matters so that any differences they have with our industry can be resolved, said van der Merwe.

“We have written to them since 2012 and they haven’t responded in the last four years.

“Now I have just written to UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon and I hope his intervention in this regard will help.”

Van der Merwe said the group wanted the WHO to look beyond health to what he called the significant role that the industry played in job creation, eradicating poverty and paying taxes to governments.

Tobacco earnings contributed nearly 20 percent of the gross domestic product in countries such as Zimbabwe and the crop alone accounted for 40 percent of exports.

“The industry should be supported and be included in the processes that affect them but the governments tend to distance themselves,” said Van der Merwe, who added that the ITGA had commissioned an independent study on the industry’s overall impact in communities.

Category: Breaking News

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