Published: 2023-05-26 20:02
Last Updated: 2023-06-05 15:57
Ahead of World No Tobacco Day, Dr Rüdiger Krech, WHO Director for Health Promotion, introduces the organization's drive to encourage and enable farmers to switch from producing tobacco to other crops.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)' helps farmers to develop capacities to switch from tobacco to another crop," he says during a Geneva press conference.
Krech said: "It is often said that tobacco farming would be so important for economic growth. This is a myth that we urgently need to dispel. It only contributes to less than 1 percent of global GDP. It is only more than 1 percent in five countries in the world."
He continued: "So why, we ask for this year's World No Tobacco Day, would tobacco farmers still grow tobacco? Because the tobacco industry holds farmers in a cycle of dependency."
"So what do we do? We use, as I said, the purchasing power of the UN. So the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) helps farmers to develop the capacities to switch from tobacco to another crop. So not all soils are good for all crops. So our colleagues in the FAO, they actually give capacity development to the farmers to say 'well within your environment, this is the best crop that you could use.' They also train them how to then do the growing of the alternative crop," he added.
He also said: "The initiative was first launched in Migori county in Kenya, where 15 percent of the farmers moved out straight away. And we were actually quite overwhelmed. We were really positively surprised to see so much interest of the farmer to move out. But they saw that this is a viable alternative. And so everything that helps them, they said 'this is great.'"