Govt told to draft policy to protect tobacco farmers, traders

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The government has been aised to develop a national policy to provide for viable income generating activities for tobacco farmers and traders who will be forced to seek alternative livelihoods from tobacco growing, when the Tobacco Control Bill 2014 is passed into law.

While appearing before the Parliamentary Committee on Health recently, Dr Katebalirwe Amooti Wa Irumba, the Commissioner Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC), said Article 17 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), provides that governments should promote economically viable alternatives for tobacco growers and workers.

“Accordingly, it is absolutely necessary for Uganda to address the valid concerns of such people as they are encouraged to turn to alternative economic activities,” he noted. WHO FCTC is the first international treaty negotiated under the world health body to reaffirm the right of all people to the highest standard of health.

Dr Katebalirwe observed that currently, there are 60,000 farmers in Uganda in more than 25 districts in the regions of West Nile, Bunyoro, Mubende and North Kigezi, who depend on tobacco growing as their main or sole economic activity.

“This is a sizeable number of Ugandan citizens who are economically dependent on tobacco growing for their livelihood. The regulation of consumption of tobacco and its products as being introduced by the Bill will therefore have an effect of the livelihood and earnings of these tobacco farmers, as well as related traders and theies,” Dr Katebalirwe explained.

iladu@ug.nationmedia.com

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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