Growers for tobacco alternatives

Affected tobacco farmers and anti-tobacco campaigners have demanded that the government should help growers in producing crops alternative to tobacco farming, at a press conference in the National Press Club on December 10, 2014 titled – “Voice of victims: Non-profitable tobacco farming, allurement to harmful profit.”

They also sought formulation of a policy to control tobacco cultivation in the country with the provision to prevent tobacco company interference on tobacco cultivation on farmlands. Anti Tobacco Media Alliance (ATMA) organised the programme as it feels the importance to expose such local protests nationally to reach the Policymakers and relevant stakeholders in tobacco control activities of Bangladesh.

Participants also alleged that the tobacco companies are gradually occupying croplands luring the farmers and are making profit using different government facilities like subsidized fertilizers, irrigation facilities etc. which were supposed to be provided to the marginal helpless farmers for food grain and other crop production. Farmers’ representatives from three districts also spoke at the occasion and said that they left tobacco cultivation after comprehending the bad effects.

Professorial Fellow of Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS), Dr M Asaduzzaman, as an expert, pointed out the multi-dimensional harms caused by tobacco farming on croplands. The written statement was presented by ATMA co-convener Nadira Kiran, and Ruhul Amin Rushd, Convener- ATMA moderated the programme.

The press conference has received substantial media attention, and the gathered reports (print & online) are compiled herein for your convenience. Besides, more than 13 TV channels have covered the event.

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