Activists urge government to end tobacco production

Tuesday, June 6th, 2023 01:00 | By
Workers go about their work at a tobacco market in Harare, capital of Zimbabwe. (Xinhua)

Anti-smoking activists yesterday asked the government to support efforts to end tobacco production in the country.

The call comes at a time an estimated 20, 000 acres of land under tobacco farming has shrunk to the current 14,000 with a UN-led project launched in March 2022 saying many farmers had abandoned the crop.

According to the chairman of the Kenya Tobacco Control and Health Promotion Alliance (KeTCHPA) Joel Gitali, in Migori county alone, over 2, 000 farmers have completely transitioned from this enterprise and shifted to producing more sustainable crops.

“Over the last two years, we have seen long-time tobacco farmers switch to alternative crops, participate in training, and plant high-iron beans in fields where tobacco once grew,” he said.

He was attending the World No Tobacco Day at the National Cultural Centre in Nairobi where several other organisations involved in tobacco control advocacy including the World Health Organisation (WHO) congregated for day-long activities. 

About 25 tobacco-control organisations came together to mark this day. In March 2022, the WHO, the World Food Programme (WFP), the Food Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Kenya government joined forces to launch the Tobacco-Free Farms project which has been lauded as the game-changer.

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