Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (unfao ) has launched a study to determine how government policies to control tobacco consumption impact the world tobacco economy. The study has been funded by fao and the Swedish International Development Agency (sida), and together they have contributed us $250,000.

Announcing the new study, fao 's assistant director general Hartwig de Haen said, "Trade in tobacco has expanded significantly, and the crop continues to be of considerable economic importance, particularly in a number of developing countries. Therefore, efforts to reduce tobacco use could be more effective if tobacco producers had access to economically attractive alternatives. fao 's work in this project has this objective in mind."

The study will highlight underlying economic and social factors that effect tobacco production and consumption. It will also analyse the effect that policy changes will have on agricultural production, employment, household income and food security besides projecting world tobacco supply, demand and trade under different scenarios. For the initial phase of intensive analysis, a small group of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America has been selected.

The study is especially significant in the light of revelations made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) that four million people die every year from tobacco-inflicted diseases. This figure is expected to rise to 10 million by the year 2030, with 70 per cent of the deaths occurring in developing countries.

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