By Jumah Nsubuga
The minister of agriculture Tress Buchanayandi has rubbished the Tobacco control Bill which is a private members Bill that insulate Tobacco control policy making and implementation from the Tobacco industry’s longstanding actions to subvert the role of government in implementing effective Tobacco control policies to protect public health by reducing the supply and demand of Tobacco products.
During the meeting with MPs belonging to the forum of none communicable diseases at the ministry of agriculture in Entebbe, minister Buchanayandi said that Uganda does not need a law on Tobacco since government does not reorganize Tobacco growing.
“The Bill is uncalled for and is not necessary since government does not reorganize tobacco as one of its cash crops. Tobacco is grown in Uganda on individual basis. It is not prioritized by the government. To bring a Law on Tobacco will be abusing the rights of individuals who have chosen to grow Tobacco” The minister noted
“We need just to educate people about their choice. We should tell them resort to crops which have economic benefits like coffee, beans, cotton, and tea among others .Tobacco will phase out its self even if we don’t come out with a law on Tobacco” The minister added
“We need to promote other alternative crops which will help farmers. Tobacco is phasing out because it doesn’t have any support from the government adding that even BAT factory in Jinja shifted to Nairobi due to governments refusal to support Tobacco” Said ministry of agriculture commissioner Komayombi Bulegeya
Meanwhile Sheema district MP Rosemary Nyakikongoro said that the forum visited farmers region by region and they were told that farmers are fed up with Tobacco because they don’t gain from it .
“Farmers are tired of growing Tobacco they propose that the ministry of agriculture should come up with an alternative crop which will boost their income than Tobacco. Tobacco industries are the ones gaining from Tobacco not the farmers”Hon Nyakingoro said
Elsewhere Nakasongola district woman MP Margaret Komuhangi said that tobacco growing is a very risk factor. The constitution of Uganda guarantees the right to life and health.
“All East African countries have laws on tobacco growing except Uganda. The tobacco bill will reduce the number of people smoking”Hon Komuhangi stressed