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Posts Tagged ‘tobacco farmers’

Tobacco Farmers are Pushed out of the Farming Business

Friday, April 26th, 2013

tobacco farmers Tobacco farmers in Manicaland have blamed the “good crop and weak price” disaster getting at the country’s auction floors disagreeing that the trend was slowly pushing them out of the farming business.

Farmers interviewed these days argued their expectations of obtaining a profit of their investment was being canceled by a cartel of tobacco buyers who were holding prices in order to increase on revenue when exporting the gold leaf. Consequently, the growers are accumulating substantial cutbacks because of the stagnation of prices at the tobacco auction floors.

Growers stated the nose-diving price regime affected them adversely, and led them in significant debt.

They are blaming the buyers of deceiving them by creating a two-tier purchase program in which the gold leaf from non-contracted growers was getting the least prices in comparison to their hired competitors. The farmers reported the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) was doing absolutely nothing to secure them. He stated that top quality tobacco was sold at a lower price, and ultimately brought excessive prices on the international market.

Mr. Mutasa further suggested that TIMB must guard growers by assuring that tobacco prices were chosen on quality no matter of whether it was cultivated under contract or non-contract. “The present price program makes it attainable for low quality tobacco to get huge prices than top quality gold leaf cultivated by self financing farmers. “This is an effort by association to drive people into a contract farming system.”

The Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president Mr. David Guy Mutasa advised growers not to hurry to sell their crop before prices were proved. “What is happening is not honest in any way to the grower. Even if they were to purchase at $6, you will discover that the farmer would have been cheated since they export the same leaf at between $16 and $20. Because of the low prices offered for the tobacco crop, growers were no longer capable to pay transporters, their employees and bank loans.

Tobacco Cultivation Stopped in Fukushima, Tobacco Farmers

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

discount ahram tobaccoFarmers in Fukushima Prefecture have harvested tobacco leaf  for the first time since tobacco cultivation was temporarily stopped because of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, and are making preparations to ship the product around December. This year, leaf tobacco farmers enthusiastic about recovering the product took regulations for to reduce the effects of radioactive substances. At present, the farmers are awaiting the results of radiation tests on harvested tobacco leaves, and are pinning their hopes on making shipments this year.

In Fukushima Prefecture, tobacco farmers grow two kinds of leaf, a native species and berley leaves.

In financial 2010, approximately 1,770 tons of tobacco leaves with recorded sales of almost 3.24 billion yen were harvested in the area, the eighth largest in the nation.

Because of the Fukushima nuclear disaster and Japan Tobacco Inc. soliciting tobacco farmers ready to quit leaf tobacco harvesting, the number of farmers in the prefecture decreased from 1,167 in 2011 to 675. Total farmland also fell from almost 900 hectares to about 620 hectares.

“We’ve got high  quality tobacco leaves this year,” Naoya Ohashi concluded after he finished harvesting his 130-hectare farm in Tamura in the prefecture. In April last year, he consumed of approximately 30,000 tobacco seedlings after the prefecture’s tobacco producers union requested farmers halt planting due to fears of soil contamination.

Tobacco Farmers and New Smoking Alternatives

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

cheap ahram hookah onlineGovernments should offer farmers appropriate smoking alternatives to growing tobacco plants as the ‘detrimental’ costs of planting tobacco far increasing their state economic benefits. “Tobacco growing carries health, environment and socio-economical risks. Studies found that more and more farmers that want to quit planting it. But you have to give them alternatives,” Anne-Marie Perucic, health economist of World Health Organization’s Smoke-free Initiative, declared on Thursday.

“The smoking alternatives will vary by country,” she explained on the sidelines of the ongoing 15th World Conference on Tobacco or Health in the Southeast Asian city-state of Singapore.

She argued that incidents of diseases related to the farmers’ exposure to tobacco smoke like green tobacco sicknesses are very increased across the globe.

“Tobacco planting causes deforestation and contaminates water supply because of pesticides. Soil decomposed because of intensive use of fertilizers for tobacco growing.”

In addition, she added, cigarettes butts littered anywhere are also very toxic and harmful to environment.


Promotion on Cigarettes Company Tactics

Friday, June 8th, 2012

discount kent cigaretteScientists reviewed recently secret corporate documents released after legal action in America. These were examined to understand the new tactics used by the cigarettes industry when the European Union was developing the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) in 1999. The TPD is at present under review which makes this report particularly pertinent, as many of the same tactics are being employed once again. Direct lobbying of politicians and civil servants who were seen to have special influence over the shape of the new law was a main tactic. The German government and MEPs played a very important role in this respect.

Indirect lobbying was also done through tobacco farmers, suppliers and distributors as well as engaging with trade organizations. Three main controversies were used to argue against the legislation.

The legal argument was that the proposed ordinances to control tobacco products were outside the EU’s jurisdiction and that the directive was in breach of free trade contracts.

The economic argument stated that the TPD was a danger to jobs, with tobacco industry studies exaggerating job losses while ignoring the possible health benefits.

Scientific arguments utilized the lack of technical expertise within the European Commission on the complex issues surrounding the Directive. This enabled tobacco industry representatives to gain direct access to officials.


Tobacco Growers Poor Due To Cigarettes Tax

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

discount kent cigaretteFor the past 17 years, farmer Bernadette Guya wakes up around 4 a.m. and works for the next 12 hours tending tobacco plants in a one-hectare leased plot in the northern Philippine province of La Union. She spends those hours watering and pruning them, and caring for each leaf by hand to remove pests. Guya earns roughly P50,000 ($1,169) from the sale of tobacco leaves, five months after planting them – a tiny income given the tedious work involved. But for this 39-year old widow, it’s the only way for her to earn a living and feed her four children.

Guya’s plight illustrates how the revival of tobacco growing, which went through a slump until recently, hardly benefits the farmers.

“Planting tobacco is hard work,” Guya said in Filipino. She wanted to plant other less labor-intensive but profitable crop.

Guya, however, doesn’t have the luxury of choice. In fact, of the 50,000 pesos that she earned during the previous cropping season that ended in May 2011, about half went to the trader who loaned her the money to buy fertilizer, pesticides and fuel for the water pump. She netted only P20,000 ($467.62) just barely enough to pay for her children’s schooling and food.

Guya sold all her harvest to the trader who loaned her the capital on the condition that she will plant tobacco. This arrangement leaves no choice but to sell at the price dictated by the trader. This cycle will be repeated in the current cropping season as Guya, bereft of savings, once again borrowed capital from the trader to allow her to plant tobacco last December.

With domestic cigarette consumption growing and big cigarette manufacturing companies picking the Philippines as the key raw material source, tobacco has recently emerged as one of the country’s fastest growing crops. Last year alone, production rose by 10.93 percent or almost twice the average 5.78 percent growth rate for all crops.

It has even brought in more foreign exchange for the country. Tobacco exports rose from 43.6 million kilograms in 2008 to 56.94 million kilograms in 2010, generating nearly $270 million in export receipts.

And yet farmers like Guya hardly benefit from these gains. The inequitable terms of trade facing Guya and other cash-strapped tobacco farmers like her underscores why tobacco growing is associated with rising poverty in spite of bright growth prospects.

From 2003 to 2006, Ilocos Sur, the biggest tobacco producer, also registered the highest increase in poverty incidence, from 22. 8 to 27.2 percent, according to the National Statistics Coordination Board. In this province alone, over 30,000 families are considered poor.

Long neglected by the government and the rest of society, tobacco farmers have suddenly become a centerpiece in the current debate over the proposed sin tax reforms in Congress.

Cigarette companies argue that raising sin taxes will reduce consumption, kill the industry and impoverish tobacco farmers. Tobacco control advocates insist that part of the revenues raised will be used to help tobacco farmers shift to other crops.

But for most tobacco farmers whose fate is supposed to hinge on the passage of the bill the issue is not whether sin taxes will increase or not. What they care about is whether those sin taxes will be used to finance their needs: irrigation, technical support, and marketing.

“The cigarette industry said the higher sin tax will hurt us. But we think if the sin taxes go up, the proceeds that are supposed to go to tobacco farmers will also go up. This will benefit us,” said Avelino Dacanay, chairman of Solidarity of Peasants against Exploitation (Stop-Exploitation).

STOP-Exploitation is comprised of farmers in Ilocos provinces – the northern Philippine region where most of the country’s tobacco are grown. The group seeks to uplift the welfare of small farmers in Northern Philippines by lobbying for land reform and fair prices for the farmers’ produce.

Cavite Representative Joseph Abaya recently filed House Bill (HB) No. 5727 which seeks to impose more uniform taxes on cigarettes and liquor, removing the lower tax rates enjoyed by established brands and low-priced products. President Benigno Aquino III supports the bill which is expected to bring additional $60 billion ($1.40 billion) in annual revenues, according to estimates by the department of finance.

The bill is in line with the Philippine government’s commitment to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty which aims to cut tobacco use. To this end, the government, led by the health department, has enacted several policies meant to curb smoking in one of the world ‘s biggest cigarette markets.

HB 5727 will raise taxes levied on cigarette and alcohol products, and in effect, increase retail prices of cigarettes in the Philippines, where which tobacco control advocates is one of the cheapest in the world. This deters people from smoking and endangering public health.

A 2006 study made by the University of the Philippines, World Health Organization and Health Department said economic costs of smoking, including expenses for health care and costs of productivity losses can hit as much as P300 billion ($7.01 billion) a year.

The Philippine Tobacco Institute (PTI), a lobby for the cigarette industry, is opposing the bill. In a press statement issued in January, PTI President Rodolfo Salanga questioned why the government is imposing higher taxes that will penalize not just the manufacturing firms but the 2.7 million farmers and their families who depend on the industry.

For Dacanay and other farmers, the more pressing issue is the government’s ability to provide financial, infrastructure and extension support that will free them from the clutches of tobacco traders, and allow them to freely choose the most profitable and suitable crop to grow.

“All the farmers want is for the government to help them shift to other crops,” he said. This includes funding irrigation facilities like simple water ponds or shallow tube wells as the soil in the region is dry, and capital and market support to wean away the farmers dependence on middlemen.

Farmer Perlita Sarro, also from La Union, said that if she has enough capital, she wants to become an entrepreneur, planting and selling vegetables that sell for higher prices than tobacco. She said that she only earned over P10,000 ($233.81) from the previous tobacco harvest in the one and a half hectare plot that she’s leasing from the owner. This is just enough to pay for the debt that she owed from the traders who loaned her the capital and to eke out a living. Like Guya, Sarro had to plant tobacco because that’s the only way to get a capital and be assured of a market for her produce.

A study done by Rene Rafael C. Espino and Danilo Evangelista, agriculture professors of the University of the Philippines in Los Banos, and Edgardo Ulysses Dorotheo of Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance showed that tobacco farmers in Ilocos, given the right resources and opportunity, are willing to shift to other crops.

In the crop year of 2006 to 2007, the authors conducted a survey among 503 tobacco farmers and 484 non-tobacco farmers in the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Pangasinan.

The survey revealed that farmers preferred to plant non- tobacco crops like corn as tobacco is too labor intensive and requires them to work for 261 days (about eight months) before they can sell it. These crops also give them higher income. According to the study, farmers who planted bitter gourd net P158,640 ($3,709.14) per hectare, while tomato planting nets P116,204 ($2,716.95) per hectare. Planting Virginia tobacco only netted P51,642 ($1,207.44) per hectare.

The 51-year old Dacanay, who tilled tobacco for 20 years before shifting to corn farming, affirms that finding. He said that while a hectare of corn field earned him about P60,000 ($1,403), he only netted roughly P22,000 ($514.38) from planting Virginia tobacco.

“Tobacco planting doesn’t pay,” Dacanay said.

The only time that he saw tobacco paying off was in the crop year of 2009-20010. Dacanay said tobacco farmers were able to sell a kilo of tobacco for about P90 ($2.10) a kilo. This, he said, was relatively high compared to prices in previous crop years which range from P80 to P85 ($1.87 to $1.99). This encouraged farmers to plant tobacco in the next cropping season. In the 2010-2011 cropping season, prices dropped to P73 ($1.71) per ki

Tobacco Farmers Against New Cigarettes Tax

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

best quality camel cigarettesThousands Virginia tobacco farmers and provincial officials aired their protest against a proposed bill seeking to restructure the excise tax collected from alcohol and tobacco through an indignation rally on Tuesday.

Tobacco farmer leader Benjamin Sarmiento said House Bill 5727, authored by Representative Joseph Emilio A. Abaya (1st district, Cavite) seeking to restructure the excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco products, is not favorable to the tobacco industry.

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The tax bill was tagged as a priority by the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council.

“If the bill will be passed and be approved, the tax for locally made high quality cigarette will be increased from P12.00 per pack to P30 per pack until 2014 while the premium imported cigarettes would only increase from P28.30 per pack to P30.00 per pack in which the importers are greatly benefited unto this bill considering that only 40 percent from the total volume of cigarette produced in the country are high quality and the remaining 60 percent are low quality,” he explained.

“Thus, if this bill will be approved why I could buy locally produced cigarettes if it has the same price with the imported cigarettes; then, the saddest part is that; the market and demand of our low quality tobacco will probably be decreased and eventually this might lead to the death of our local tobacco industry,” he added.

Sarmiento led at least 5,000 Virginia tobacco farmers from Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte in a rally in front of the Provincial Capitol of Ilocos Sur asking President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III to disapprove the proposed law as it is detrimental to the tobacco industry.

“We are also appealing to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, our province-mates, to take further study into the impact of the HB 5727,” Sarmiento added.

Meanwhile, provincial officials lead by Vice Governor Deogracias Victor B. Savellano expressed their strong opposition to HB 5727 which contains the Department of Finance (DOF) proposal for a unitary excise tax system.

“We do not agree and cannot accept HB5727 of Representative Abaya, which is being pushed by Secretaries Butch Abad and Finance Secretary Purisima. HB 5727 will destroy the tobacco industry and kill the livelihood of our people,” the local officials said in their letter forwarded to Davao Representative Isidro Ungab, chairman of the House committee on ways and means.

However, the local officials passed a resolution in support to the current excise tax structure on alcohol and tobacco products, saying it allows these sectors to grow while generating a more stable and predictable revenue for government.

The resolution expressed the unequivocal support of the local officials for the sub-committee Report No. 6 of Ilocos Sur Representative Eric G. Singson Jr., which responds to the government’s call for additional revenues without sacrificing the livelihood of some nine million people, engaged in the alcohol and tobacco industries.

Under the approved subcommittee report, increases of the tax rates ranging from four to 10 percent will be imposed on the four tax tiers over five years with the lowest tier absorbing 10 percent. The increase will be done every other year over the five-year period.

Tobacco Farmers Against Tobacco Companies

Tuesday, January 24th, 2012

cheap cigaronne cigarettesJohn Muheria stares pensively as his friend Paulo dexterously ties dried tobacco leaves in a neat bunch and tosses them to the growing stack at his feet. It is late afternoon and the two tobacco farmers are chatting briskly on their six acre farm in Migori County as they sort the latest batch of leaves from the farm.

It is harvest season for tobacco farmers in Migori County and Mr Muheria explains to us that there is a lot of work to be done. “Most of my crop has matured and after I pick the leaves, they are brought to a curing shed like the one you see behind you,” says Mr Muheria while pointing. “Here it is sorted and prepared for curing.”

Mr Muheria explains that most of the tobacco produced in Kenya is processed through flue curing.

“The leaves are tied to tobacco sticks, which are then hung from poles in the curing kiln where an externally lit fire feeds heat through ducts running through the kiln. The fire is maintained at a low burn with the wood being replaced from time to time.

The entire process takes five to nine days and the tobacco is ready for delivery.”

This season, weather conditions favoured the farmers and the harvest was bountiful. In addition to this, tobacco firms increased the price by 40 per cent to Sh157 per kg. So if things are looking so good, why is Mr Muheria considering abandoning tobacco farming this coming season for water melons?

“Tobacco farmers in the country are an aba we are operating in very harsh conditions,” he explains. ndoned lot and we are operating in very harsh conditions,” he explains.

“For a long time the price of tobacco was low and it was not until we protested and refused to sell our crop that tobacco firms gave us the increment.”

Mr Muheria further states that the price adjustment does not factor in the increased cost of production that farmers have had to cope with over the last few years that has led to reduced profit margins.

The farmers state that they have been adversely hit by increased prices of inputs, some by up to 400 per cent.

“We used to buy a bag of fertiliser two years ago for Sh1,500. Now the same commodity goes for Sh3,900,” says Mr Muheria. “The cost of pesticides has shot up from Sh500 a few years ago to Sh1, 800 currently.”

In addition to this, firewood which fuels kilns used in flue curing tobacco, has become scarce as Kenya strives to preserve its water towers by putting a cap on wanton deforestation.

In the past the farmers relied on a self-sufficient system where they planted trees around tobacco farms to provide firewood. This system however failed after the trees were cut much faster than they were allowed to grow thus depleting the necessary fuel. This forced farmers to trek long distances in search of firewood.

The Kenya Tobacco Farmers Association, (KTFA) is the national umbrella body that represents tobacco farmers in the country.

The association has 35,000 plus members nationally with 18,000 of these in Nyanza province.

According to Joseph Wanguru, CEO of KTFA of the Kenya Tobacco Farmers Association, the plight of the farmers would burn less if only tobacco firms treated farmers more fairly.

“Tobacco firms care more about the farmers’ produce than the farmers themselves and they handle farmers with a great degree of high-handedness,” he explains.

“For example we have repeatedly complained of the increasing prices of inputs and yet they went on ignoring our pleas until our members threatened to withhold their supply.”

Mr Wanguru further adds that even the price increment farmers received was not balanced and left out some farmers. “They only increased the price of the FCC variety and left the price of the DFC variety.

This does not make sense because the cost of production of both varieties has increased so why raise the price of one and leave the other?”

In addition to this, Mr Wanguru states that the tobacco firms have become reluctant to pay the farmers for delivered produce.”One particular company, Mastermind has arrears amounting to over Sh100 million and whenever we try to get a meeting with the management to sort out the issue they stonewall us”, he states.

“Most of our colleagues are poor and some have not even been able to take their children to school and at the same time we have taken loans and the financial institutions do not understand our predicament; they just want their money,” Mr Muheria chimes in.And the farmers are getting restless.

Two weeks ago a vehicle belonging to the cigarette firm Alliance One was burnt by angry farmers as it went to pick up produce in one of the tobacco farms in Migori.

The farmers’ demands are clear. They want more value from their farms and they want it now.

“We would like the tobacco farmers to be provided with protective clothing because the chemicals they come in contact with in the processing of the crop are very toxic and many have developed adverse health conditions that have led to huge medical bills”, says Mr Wanguru.

In addition to this the farmers also want the government to develop an affordable crop insurance scheme to safeguard tobacco farmers from crop failures, pests and hailstorms that cause millions of losses each year.

In the past, cigarette firms used to provide incentives for contracted tobacco farmer in terms of farm inputs and field extension services.

Now, however, cigarette firms in Kenya have their own battles to fight and in a business environment that is increasingly growing intolerant to smoking, the dark cloud that hangs over their heads shows no signs of dissipating.

According to WHO, tobacco kills nearly 6 million people worldwide each year, mostly from heart disease, stroke, cancer and emphysema. Tobacco-related deaths account for 63 per cent of deaths from non-communicable diseases in the world today. In addition, second-hand exposure to tobacco is estimated to cause 600,000 deaths per year globally.

Following tougher restrictions and anti-smoking campaigns, smoking rates in the US and in Europe are falling and cigarette firms are turning to developing markets in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America in search for new smokers. According to the ministry of health, tobacco use in Kenya has risen steadily over the years and now 18 per cent of adults in the country smoke cheap Cigaronne cigarettes, including 12.7 per cent of schoolboys and 6.5 per cent of schoolgirls.

The World Health Organisation is calling on governments to pass and enforce more stringent anti-tobacco laws to prevent premature deaths from tobacco-related diseases.

Kenya’s Tobacco Control Act that has been in operation for the last three years dealt a major blow to the brand visibility and marketing of tobacco products.

The Act outlawed smoking in public spaces, promotion, advertising and sponsorship of tobacco products.