Brazil’s minister of agrarian development, Paulo Teixeira, has spoken out against initiatives to replace tobacco as a cash crop.
During a meeting with representatives of the domestic tobacco industry, Teixeira said farmers must be assured the right to grow tobacco, especially in light of the crop’s economic contribution.
Industry representatives had requested the meeting to discuss the sector’s concerns about the 10th Conference of the Parties (COP10) organized by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. They stressed the economic and social importance of the production and export of tobacco for Brazil and addressed the concern about the Brazilian stance at the meeting in Panama, particularly with regard to a possible interference with the cultivation of tobacco.
In addition to Iro Schunke of the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco), the group comprised Benicio Albano Werner, president of the Tobacco Growers’ Association of Brazil (Afubra); Giuseppe Lobo, the executive director of the Brazilian Tobacco Industry Association (Abifumo); and Marcos Souza the executive director of the Bahia State Tobacco Industry Union (Sinditabaco-BA).
While expressing support for the industry, Teixeira recommended that the industry use bioinputs to produce tobacco. “The companies have invested in biological pest control methods and have always sought the best solutions when it comes to farmers’ health and safety,” said Schunke in a statement.
“We have a good grasp of the health issues that involve our product, but while there is demand, we need to preserve the jobs and the income generated by the supply chain.”
Earlier in July, tobacco industry representatives met with Brazil’s minister of agriculture, Carlos Favaro, to share their concerns ahead of COP10.