Tobacco farmers, participating in the 3rd Asia Tobacco Forum in Manila, launched “Save our farms”, a grassroots campaign to fight radical new guidelines that would devastate the livelihoods of millions of tobacco farmers in Asia.
The campaign is calling on governments in the region to stand with tobacco farmers in opposition to these radical guidelines. The proposed guidelines have been developed in advance of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of the Parties (CoP) which will be held in Seoul in November.
The guidelines include mandating the seasons when tobacco can and cannot be grow, cutting off all government and private sector support for tobacco farmers, limiting then reducing the land area where tobacco can be grown and having countries reduce tobacco production simultaneously.
“Global bureaucrats with very limited knowledge of agriculture are attempting to impose an agenda on Pakistan that would devastate the livelihoods of farmers, farm workers and farming communities, said Rustam Khan, President Anjuman Kasht Karan & Tobacco Hazara Division.
“Our leaders must go to Seoul and protect Pakistan by opposing these absurd guidelines”. The “Save our farms” campaign includes a website saveourfarms.org as well as an online petition and YouTube channel featuring testimonials from real world farmers. The online campaign will encourage tobacco farmers to get involved by signing a petition and asking their national governments to oppose these radical measures in Seoul later this year. The campaign’s rallying cry is “Save our farms, Save our jobs, Save our way of life.”