PARIS, June 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
UNITAB, which gathers the 85,000 European tobacco growers and their 400,000 workers, is very concerned about the evolution of the position of a Working Health Organization (WHO) working group on tobacco (WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control - FCTC).
In its latest report, the WHO has stepped out of its field of specialisation - health - into that of agriculture, of which it has no understanding. Its objective, which is thoroughly irresponsible, is to jeopardize still further the position of the tobacco growers whose social and economic situation has already been weakened by the evolution of the CAP.
For instance, the WHO proposes a ban on contracts between raw tobacco growers and buyers which make farmers "too secure" and the arbitrary limitation of the size of plantations and cultivation periods.
Even worse, the working group wants to put an end to the policy of quality improvement which gives European tobacco its comparative advantage and refuses to promote alternative uses for tobacco.
These measures are excessive and unfair. They would have no impact on the level of consumption and would contribute to the deterioration of the general quality of the products. They would also have a very negative impact on the social-economic situation
of the sector.
"Given this ideological point of view, the contribution of the EU Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development within the WHO working party is not valued as it should be, although it is both legitimate and relevant" regrets François Vedel, UNITAB delegate secretary.
He then called for a return to agricultural and social realities: "Before the November conference in Korea, States and key players must make themselves heard to counterbalance the single-minded, over-simplified opinions of pressure groups".
UNITAB is the International Union of tobacco farmers. It represents nearly 85,000 tobacco farmers across Europe.
Press contact: François Vedel, +33-(0)1-44-53-48-00 - firstname.lastname@example.org