The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Tobacco farmers switching to alternatives

Throughout the world, tobacco farmers are beginning to switch to growing food or higher yielding crops, like bamboo.

After years of escalating health and environmental problems, low profits and the possibility of declining global demand for tobacco, these farmers realise that growing tobacco has put them in a ‘no-win’ situation.

The campaign interviewed experts from Bangladesh, Kenya and Brazil during last year's Week of Alternative Livelihoods, to show how farmers in these countries are switching from growing tobacco to alternative crops. Watch the video interviews above and below.


Farida Akhter from policy, research and development group UBINIG discusses how farmers from Bangladesh are switching back to growing food.

“We don’t call it alternatives, we call it switching back to our old crops,” says Farida. “We don’t want tobacco in our food crop fields – we want our government to support tobacco control in a much stronger way.”

Watch the full story above


Professor Jacob K Kibwage, South Eastern University College, Kenya, talks about how tobacco farmers there are switching to bamboo because of its environmental, health and economic advantages.

Professor Kibwage says farmers can earn four times as much from growing bamboo than from tobacco. Farmers can earn even more if they use the bamboo for other products like handicrafts, housing and fencing.

Watch the full story below


Adriana Gregolin, from the Ministry of Agrarian Development in Brazil, says she wants to see “More food, less tobacco”.

Adriana says that Brazil is the second largest producer of tobacco and the largest exporter of leaf tobacco in the world. As a result, tobacco farmers are very dependent on growing tobacco and are nervous about making changes. She says the government must provide more support to farmers that want to make the switch.

Watch the full story below


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