After a four-year absence, I am thrilled to be back focusing on African agriculture issues. During my four years away from the topic, I focused on domestic hunger in the United States, then global food policy. For me, this work reinforced the reality that challenges exist everywhere—it becomes a matter of deciding which challenge you care to spend your time on.
As I refocus on African agriculture, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that not too much has changed since 2013 in terms of a renaissance for African agriculture. It hasn’t happened. But the good news is we are about to be confronted with a rare opportunity to capitalize on fast-changing trends in consumer behavior—a rapid shift and decline in combustible cigarette smoking.
While millions of smokers will experience positive health effects by either quitting or using a reduced-risk product, hundreds of thousands of smallholder farmers who produce tobacco leaf will face a crisis if plans aren’t put in place to transition them to other crops or other livelihoods. Consequently, the additional effect of losing significant foreign exchange earnings from export sales of tobacco will virtually cripple countries like Malawi, which relies on tobacco exports for 81% of its foreign exchange earnings.
Another added benefit from my time away from African agriculture issues, is that it has given me added perspective. What is apparent is that most of the agriculture investment in developing countries (across all crops, not just tobacco) is being made to the input side: technical expertise, storage, handling, improved seeds, and, more recently, supply chains. Stimulating and developing new markets is rarely considered. This raises an important issue for smallholder tobacco farmers as they transition to other crops. Who will ultimately procure and use the resulting increased production? If there is no new market, increased production will merely depress price and create a vicious cycle from which local farmers can’t escape.
The issues facing the smallholder farmer are complex and intertwined. At the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, we will aim to solve those issues with a holistic approach that puts the farmer first. A new deal is needed for the smallholder tobacco farmer. Here our journey begins.
It's time for America to reclaim its role in global health leadership - https://bit.ly/3oXnGp3
Important message @UN @unfoundation but vital that #globalhealth does not revert to being focused only on #infections A huge preventive potential exists thru ending smoking, promoting activity & healthy diets, with better mental health. https://www.statnews.com/2021/01/20/welcome-back-to-the-global-health-stage-america-you-have-a-lot-of-work-to-do/
After 2 years of implementation, @WHO has not produced a report on their #tobaccocontrol acceleration plan. In a @smokefreefdn blog post, @ehsanlatif writes, “We needn’t accept bureaucratic inaction & in fact, we have a moral imperative to demand change.” https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/761266-uneven-implementation-of-fctc-articles-impeding-tobacco-control
In response to the @WHO's recent report on the Tenth Meeting of the WHO Group on Tobacco Regulation, @SmokeFreeFdn developed an analysis with support from experts in the field of #TobaccoCessation and #HarmReduction and shared with stakeholders.
#Inequality of access to aids that can improve health is a subject that must be addressed in 2021. "The disproportionate marketing of the riskiest tobacco products in socially and economically disadvantaged communities is particularly troubling.” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30452712/
#Inequality in the @FCTCofficial’s #tobaccocontrol approach neglects the needs of 3 subgroups
1. People with #mentalhealth conditions
2. The Rainbow community
3. #Indigenous populations.
This analysis explores the ways these groups have been left behind:
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