Farming semantics

| March 2, 2018

The Ceylon Tobacco Company (CTC) is luring local farmers into cultivating tobacco by providing inputs and loan facilities, and by functioning as a direct buyer of their produce, according to a story in The Island, citing new research.

The research, which looked at tobacco cultivation in Sri Lanka and its social impact, was conducted by the Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention (PTFDP) and the Center for Combating Tobacco (CCT) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo.

The research results were announced on Tuesday by the directors of the PTFDP and CCT Dr. Samantha Kithalawaarachchi and Dr. Mahesh Rajasuriya.

The report is said to claim that the CTC tries to attract small-scale farmers through social welfare projects, while the company’s close relationships with politicians in the government are being exploited to sustain the tobacco business.

The report says that such interventions by the tobacco company have to be stopped if the government’s goal of ending tobacco cultivation by 2020 is to be achieved.

Nevertheless, the CTC’s alleged efforts seem to have been in vain, or even counterproductive. According to the report, there has been a significant decrease in the number of tobacco farmers in Sri Lanka owing to the announcement of an ‘imminent tobacco ban by the government’.

The researchers take this decrease to mean that nearly all tobacco farmers, kiln owners and labourers have vocational options. And because of this, the research team has called for stopping the use of the term ‘tobacco farmers’.

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Category: Breaking News, Leaf, People

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