Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has recommended that the Government should provide adequate support to farmers to enable them to quit tobacco farming and switch to alternative healthy crops.
CAPPA made the recommendation during a media round table to commemorate World No Tobacco Day 2023 with the theme: “We need food, not tobacco.”
Philip Jakpor, Director of Programmes at CAPPA, explained that the theme of the World No Tobacco Day 2023 aligns with the CAPPA’s beliefs and that it encourages governments to focus on providing the ecosystem for farmers to grow sustainable food crops instead of tobacco.
Jakpor noted that governments are equally charged to end subsidies for tobacco growing and use savings for crop substitution programmes that improve food security and nutrition.
He also demanded that “the Nigerian government should accelerate the implementation of Articles 17 and 18 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) and its guidelines that outline how farmers can be supported from tobacco growing to sustainable alternative crops.
“The guidelines provide opportunities for technical advice on agriculture to farmers, linking them to necessary supplies and services to support their agricultural production, providing financial support to increase production of healthy food, and divesting away from tobacco towards alternative crops,” he added.
Akinbode Olufemi, the Executive Drirector of CAPPA, who noted that tobacco farmers face different health issues due to years of exposure to tobacco and its associated chemicals, recommended that the government should provide financial aid for farmers to switch to farming other crops.
Olufemi said “many of these farmers are plagued by lingering health issues due to years of exposure to tobacco and related chemicals. Limited healthcare access further compounds this problem, with many resorting to ineffective traditional methods to manage their tobacco-induced health complications.
He thereafter demanded that the Federal Government should “provide substantial support to farmers in their transition from tobacco farming to other crops. This could include financial aid, affordable agricultural loans and insurance products. This would give farmers the financial means to transition to new crops and protect them from unforeseen losses.
“Support crop diversification programmes that can provide farmers with alternatives to tobacco farming. This program would provide resources to farmers to grow crops that are not only profitable but also sustainable and beneficial for the health of the land and people. The selection of these crops should take into consideration local soil, climate conditions, and market demand,” he added.
The event also witnessed the screening of videos from the field trips to tobacco farms in Oyo and Ogun States, which showed the deplorable situation of the farmers.