Tanzania - too busy growing tobacco to think about tobacco control..

April 25, 2010 - On November 5, 2009 the government of Tanzania (a country twice the size of California, located in East Africa, just south of Kenya) told old the National Assembly that it is going to continue supporting tobacco farming despite the increase of cancer cases caused by cigarette smoking since that is not the solution to the problem. (Tanzania - government will continue to support tobacco farming..)

Now the Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives said yesterday (April 21, 2010) that it has no plans to set aside funds for awareness campaigns on the adverse effects of tobacco use, saying the duty lies with the Ministry of Health.

THE NEED FOR TOBACCO CONTROL IN TANZANIIA Tanzania signed the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on January 27, 2004, and ratified it on April 30, 2007.

Minister for Agriculture Stephen Wasira said this here when responding to a supplementary question by Stella Manyanya (Special Seats, CCM), who had wanted to know if the ministry had any plans to set aside funds for educating tobacco farmers and users on the adverse effects of tobacco to their health. Interview with Hon. Stephen Wasira Minister of Agriculture of Tanzania, Tanzanai Invest, 3/15/2010: When you talk about Tanzanian economy you are talking about an agricultural economy as 80% of our people are engaged in agriculture. agriculture becomes the major economic activity in the country. He insisted that the ministry would continue encouraging people to produce tobacco.

“These adverse effects of tobacco are for the Health ministry to deal with,” he insisted.

The question also seemed to irk National Assembly Speaker Samuel Sitta, who also criticized the MP (member of parliament) for asking such a question. ‘What that again? Some of us depend on the crop and now you are fighting against it?” he wondered.

Urambo, in Tabora Region, is a major tobacco producing area.

Later, after the minister’s response, Sitta said, “You (the minister) are the right person for us.”

In the basic question, Lupa-CCM MP Victor Mwambalaswa had said that tobacco was the only crop that had been affected by the global economic crunch. He wanted to know if it was possible to produce 100,000 tonnes by the year 2010 as it had been projected by the government. He said currently only 47,000 tonnes of tobacco were being produced in the country.

Responding, Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Co-operatives Dr Mathayo David Mathayo said it was not possible to produce 100,000 tonnes as earlier planned. He said experts had suggested that it might be possible to produce them in 2013/2014. He however said production of the crop had increased by 20 per cent.

Reference: Ministry disowns responsibility for tobacco use effects by Patrick Kisembo, IPP Media, 4/22/2010.

Related news brief:
Tanzania - call for public smoking areas..;
Tanzania - government will continue to support tobacco farming..