Moving Smallholder Tobacco Farmers to Alternatives and Livelihoods: World No Tobacco Day & Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

The Foundation is Supporting Initiatives to Help Smallholder Farmers Transition Away from Tobacco to More Sustainable and Environmentally Friendly Agricultural Alternatives and Livelihoods

On World No Tobacco Day, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World Highlights Efforts to Reduce the Environmental Impact of Tobacco

 

NEW YORK, May 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- More than one billion individuals still smoke combustible cigarettes, with dire consequences for individual health and our global environment. More needs to be done to address this threat. Agricultural and tobacco harm reduction innovations offer hope and new options to reduce tobacco's carbon footprint, its overall negative impact on the environment, as well as help for smokers to quit combustible cigarettes.

On this World No Tobacco Day (May 31), the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World reaffirms its charitable mission to end smoking in this generation and its commitment to partner with agricultural, rural development, smallholder representatives and others to help identify and sustain alternative livelihoods for tobacco farmers in Malawi with the assistance of its affiliate, the Agricultural Transformation Initiative (ATI).

Malawi is one of the largest tobacco-producing countries in the world. In 2018, tobacco exports accounted for nearly 68% of the country's total merchandise export earnings, rendering it one of the most – if not the most – economically tobacco-dependent countries in the world.

The day-to-day work and exposure associated with tobacco farming are harmful to the health of Malawian farmers as well as the surrounding environment. The Foundation is funding grants in this country to achieve the following charitable aims:

  1. Increased and more secure income streams, improved food security status, and better overall health for smallholder farmers, their families, and their communities
  2. Increased knowledge and application of cutting-edge agricultural science and technology
  3. Reduced economic dependence on tobacco and increased resilience for smallholder farmers
  4. Reduced environmental degradation due to tobacco cultivation

"The economic, environmental and health impacts of tobacco farming are acutely felt in Malawi, which is why we are focusing our efforts on giving the country's smallholder farmers the tools to diversify into other competitive and sustainable agricultural alternatives," said Candida Nakhumwa, Vice President and Malawi Country Director, Foundation for a Smoke-Free World. "Malawi's dependency on tobacco has led to deforestation, land degradation and loss of biodiversity. These are devasting consequences that must be addressed."

"Tobacco's environmental impact in Malawi has been significant, and addressing this issue is an important part of the Centre for Agricultural Transformation's (CAT's) work," said Macleod Nkhoma, CAT Executive Director. "We are collaborating with partners to help smallholder farmers diversify away from tobacco to other alternative value chains, including proven yield enhancing and environmentally sustainable technologies. The CAT remains positive that promotion of irrigation and greenhouse technologies will not only entice farmers to produce high value horticultural crops throughout the year but also support the development of a more sustainable environmental ecosystem in the country."

The CAT is funded by a Foundation for a Smoke-Free World grant.

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World commends the ongoing efforts of the WHO and World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness and push for lasting change. Tobacco production has negative consequences on the environment, and the Foundation is addressing this challenge as it works toward its ultimate mission to end smoking in this generation.

ABOUT FOUNDATION FOR A SMOKE-FREE WORLD

The Foundation for a Smoke-Free World is an independent, US nonprofit 501(c)(3) private foundation with the purpose of improving global health by ending smoking in this generation. The Foundation supports its mission through three broad categories of work: Health and Science Research; Agricultural Diversification; and Industry Transformation. Funded by annual gifts from PMI Global Services Inc. ("PMI"), the Foundation is independent from PMI and operates in a manner that ensures its independence from the influence of any commercial entity. Under the Foundation's Pledge Agreement with PMI and bylaws, PMI and the tobacco industry are precluded from having any control or influence over how the Foundation spends its funds or focuses its activities. For more information about the Foundation, please visit www.smokefreeworld.org.