Call farmers to tobacco control meet, government told

New Delhi, Nov 2 (IANS) The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) on Wednesday urged the health ministry to invite all stakeholders, including farmers, to the upcoming Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the world’s biggest conference on tobacco control policies.

CII said in a letter to the ministry that participation of the tobacco farmers was important during the conference as India was the world’s second largest producer of tobacco.

“It provides livelihood to 4.6 crore people, including farmers, farm labour, rural poor, small self-employed retailers, women, more than 70 per cent of whom are engaged in the agricultural sector and have no other means of sustenance,” said the letter.

The 7th Conference of Parties (COP 7) of FCTC is being hosted in Noida between November 7 and 12. As per the agenda, strict tobacco control policies are to be formulated during the convention.

According to CII, adequate participation of all stakeholders will help in arriving at a balanced and pragmatic position on various proposals and guidelines at the conference.

Earlier, the tobacco farmers in the country had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and World Health Organisation to let them participate in the conference.