WHO "attacks Mozambique" for growing tobacco while the population starves to death

OMS “ataca Moçambique” por cultivar tabaco enquanto população morre à fome

The World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that Mozambique is one of the countries in the world that uses the most hectares of land to grow tobacco while its population goes hungry.

Mozambique, with a cultivated area of 91,469 hectares, is third in the African region, after Zimbabwe (112,770 hectares) and Malawi (100,962).

Mozambique, along with Zimbabwe, Malawi, Tanzania, Indonesia, Turkey and the United States are in the "Top 10" of the largest tobacco producers. Brazil, China and India contribute around 55% of the plant's total production, according to a WHO report, quoted by the News.

Worldwide, in 120 countries, more than three million hectares of land are used to grow tobacco, a growing trend, "including in countries where people are starving". In Africa, for example, the increase was almost 20% between 2005 and 2020. The WHO indicates that more than 300 million people face acute food insecurity.

"Tobacco is not only a threat to food insecurity, but to health in general, including the health of tobacco farmers," said the Director for Health Promotion at the WHO, Ruediger Krech.

Krech revealed that farmers could be exposed to chronic lung diseases or even suffer from nicotine poisoning.

"Farmers are exposed to pesticides, tobacco smoke (in the process of curing the leaves), and as much nicotine as is detected in fifty cigarettes," he said.

Another problem is the use of child labor on tobacco plantations. According to the WHO, more than a million children work in tobacco fields and "are missing out on the opportunity to study".

Tobacco is responsible for the deaths of eight million people worldwide. Yet governments spend millions supporting the tobacco culture," denounced WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom.

The WHO suggests that governments stop subsidizing tobacco cultivation and support more sustainable agriculture that "could feed millions of people".

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