Friday, August 06, 2010

(NYASATIMES) Malawi coaxes tobacco producers to fight G20

Malawi coaxes tobacco producers to fight G20
By Nyasa Times
Published: August 4, 2010

Malawi has called on all Barley tobacco producers in the Sothern Africa Development Community (SADC) region to jealously defend their tobacco against stiff restrictive regulations by some G20 countries.

Deputy Minister of agriculture Margaret Mauwa said this in Lilongwe when opening a high-profile International Conference on World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control-FCTC.

Mauwa said it is unfortunate that despite the high taxes that already rock the tobacco industry, problems in the industry are worsening due to anti-tobacco laws being advanced by the FCTC protocol.

About 1.5 Million Malawians depend on tobacco for their employment as peasant farmers, service providers and processors according to official figures.

Besides the heavy taxes on tobacco products, the world health organization’s framework convention on tobacco control protocol has several articles that haunt barley tobacco growing countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Mozambique and Zambia.

Canada has been in forefront in speaking against Burley leaf on its soils.

A Swiss consultant in the industry from Universal leaf Tobacco Barbara Martellini feels that tobacco producers should embrace health regulations while diversifying their economic survival lines.

Tobacco is the number one forex earner for agro-based economies like Malawi, with its tax revenues driving most government operations.

On his return from African Union summit in Kampala, Uganda Malawi President Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika quashed out fears from the west on Malawi’s Burley Tobacco saying alternative markets need to be explored. – Nyasa Times

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