Tobacco farmers from around the globe celebrated World Tobacco Growers’ Day on Oct. 28. Promoted by the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) since 2012, the event this year focused on diversification initiatives that had taken place during the month of October.
Initiatives started the first week of October on the occasion of the Eighth Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Delegates of ITGA member associations from different countries traveled to Geneva and met leading UN agencies, such as the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Labor Organization and the World Bank.
Growers also met with their respective countries’ ambassadors in Geneva. These meetings sought to convey growers’ and their communities’ concerns about the lack of realism about diversification in the FCTC.
They also discussed with these UN agencies the creation of a working group in which growers and their representatives would be able to contribute their knowledge and expertise. Currently, the FCTC articles with the lowest rate of implementation are those that involve tobacco growers.
The meetings between the ITGA delegations and the UN agencies has created a communication channel that has been denied to tobacco growers up to now.
One week after the COP8, the ITGA held its 33rd annual general meeting, in Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil. The gathering revolved around sustainability, highlighting social and environmental responsibility as the means to achieve such sustainability.
Speakers included Shane MacGuill of Euromonitor International, ITGA CEO Antonio Abrunhosa and a representative of the FAO. MacGuill and Abrunhosa discussed trends in tobacco consumption and production, while the FAO representative spoke about the food crops that will be necessary to feed a rapidly growing world population.