Video “Alternative livelihood for tobacco farmers in South-East Asia”
Tobacco farmers and workers constantly face health related issues of toxicity due to handling tobacco leaves (green tobacco sickness) and working with toxic chemical fertilizers and pesticides. There are also other problems such as child labour, deforestation caused by curing tobacco leaf and rotating plantations, food insecurity, and poverty caused by the tobacco industry through manipulation of leaf prices. Problems also arise from industry interference in policy formulation and incitement through supporting militant farmers lobby groups.
In WHO South-East Asia Region, tobacco producing countries such as Bangladesh, India and Indonesia face the constant dilemma of contradictory policies of tobacco control and tobacco promotion. Tobacco control has always been a complex subject in India as it is the world’s third largest producer, second largest consumer of tobacco products and the sixth largest exporter of leaf tobacco. In Indonesia, also a large producer and exporter of tobacco products, tobacco farmers are always used as front groups by the industry to rally against tobacco control.
The video “Alternative livelihood for tobacco farmers in South-East Asia” was a collaborative work between WHO Regional Office for South-East Asia and World Lung Foundation to raise awareness on this important aspect of tobacco control. The theme of the video is to help farmers leave the killer crop “tobacco” behind by raising awareness on dangers of tobacco growing and providing support for alternative livelihood.