The European coalition of NGOs Smoke Free Partnership (SFP) today called for changes in tobacco production, noting that the European Union “continues to subsidize” it through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
“There is a political paradox between ambitious EU initiatives – such as the European Plan to Combat Cancer and the “Farm to Fork” strategy – and current practices that undermine food resilience and public health”, says SFP director, Lilia Olefir, quoted in a statement from the coalition released by the Portuguese Society of Pneumology, which joins the initiative.
On World No Tobacco Day, whose theme proposed by the World Health Organization is “We need food, not tobacco”, the SFP highlights that “tobacco production continues to be subsidized by the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) of the European Union, abuses of migrant workers and contaminates plantations and vegetation with nicotine”.
According to the Smoke Free Partnership, tobacco production is subsidized by the EU “with a value between 100 and 270 million euros over five years”, asking the coalition of non-governmental organizations “more government support for the transition to cultivation of sustainable crops that contribute to global food security”.
Regarding the abuses of migrant workers, the statement cites an investigation by the British newspaper The Guardian, from 2019, reporting that this happened “in tobacco plantations in Italy, the largest European producer of raw tobacco”.
African migrant workers, including minors, were “obliged to work 12 hours a day, without a contract or protective equipment, and being paid just three euros an hour”.
The SFP cites another study carried out in Italy that links tobacco production with high levels of nicotine in plantations in the area, including food crops, noting that it also “depends heavily on pesticides – a threat to public health – which pollute the soil and underground waters”. .
“Ending EU funding for tobacco production would be in line with the European Environment Agency’s recommendation to reduce dependence on chemical pesticides and preserve food production systems in Europe”, says the SFP.
The Sociedade Portuguesa de Pneumologia, for its part, warns of the need to support tobacco growers in the Azores – the only region in Portugal where the plant is cultivated and the product is produced – to develop another sustainable and profitable agricultural activity, which not tobacco cultivation. .
Source: Renascença – Noticias by rr.sapo.pt.
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