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TOBACCO GROWERS CONFERENCE BACKS CONTINUED FIGHT FOR THEIR VIEWS TO BE HEARD

Added: (Wed Nov 15 2000)

Pressbox (Press Release) - TOBACCO GROWERS CONFERENCE BACKS CONTINUED FIGHT FOR THEIR VIEWS TO BE HEARD

Santa Cruz do Sul, Brazil:

Tobacco growers from 18 countries have re-affirmed their opposition to the World Health Organisation’s proposed tobacco control treaty - while it includes controls on production of tobacco leaf.

The International Tobacco Growers’ Association’s membership backed the continuation of its policy to place the growers’ views before governments, United Nations organisations and other international groups.

“Our industry faces its greatest-ever global challenge with WHO, supported by the World Bank, leading the “anti” campaign to suffocate our markets and drive us all out of business,” said ITGA president Richard Tate of Zimbabwe. “Fighting this common cause has brought all the stakeholders in our industry together in support of the tobacco growers.”

Recently, ITGA and ten of its national members took their case to WHO’s public hearings on the proposed treaty in Geneva. Chief Executive Antonio Abrunhosa said the growers’ viewpoint must be taken to WHO and its allies “again and again.”

“We have forced WHO into a minimal form of public consultation, which it had originally rejected. Now we must call on governments to support our demands for meaningful negotiations - not just 5 minutes of presentations in Geneva,” he said.

During the past 12 months, ITGA’s shoestring budget has been stretched to its limits in a world-wide lobbying programme. During the first 10 months of 2000, Mr Abrunhosa has attended 53 meetings and events in four continents to promote the tobacco growers case.

“Although we represent 33-35 million people in 22 countries who grow tobacco, the vast majority are small-scale farmers”, Mr Abrunhosa said. “This limits our budgets. Against farmers are the well-heeled armies of WHO and UN organisations, a vast array of non-governmental organisations whose industry is tobacco control, and major pharmaceutical companies.

“Because WHO won’t enter negotiations, we have to battle on with our very limited resources. However, we have succeeding in slowing the pace of WHO’s plans to eliminate tobacco-growing and have obliged it to recognise the social and economic importance of our growers and their crop.”

The ITGA Meeting vowed to keep its campaigns going because the tobacco control treaty threatens the existence of some national economies, many rural regions and millions of tobacco growers.

…ends…

Media enquiries:

Antonio Abrunhosa, Chief Executive, International Tobacco Growers’ Association, Castelo Branco, Portugal
Tel: +351 272 325901
Fax: +351 272 325906
Mobile: +351 964017622
E-mail: itga@mail.telepac.pt

Steve Wilson, Hallmark Public Relations, Winchester, UK
Tel: +44 (0) 1962 863850
Fax: +44 (0) 1962 841820
Mobile: +44 (0)7768 513034
E-mail: twatson@hallmarkpr.co.uk

Note to Editors:

THE INTERNATIONAL TOBACCO GROWERS’ ASSOCIATION

The International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) was formed in 1984 to foster co-operation and information-sharing between its tobacco-growing members and contribute to the international debate on tobacco issues.

Membership encompasses 22 countries, which between them are responsible for growing over 80% of the world’s internationally traded tobacco.

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