Media advocacy on alternative crops, a tool for tobacco control; Experience from Tanzania, East Africa
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Association of Tanzania Health Journalists, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Publish date: 2018-10-03
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 3):A103
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Statistics show that Tanzania holds second position in Africa in tobacco production after Malawi. About 10 out of 26 regions in Mainland Tanzania are practicing tobacco farming. The survey carried in 2011 by Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF), reported that about 70 percent of tobacco farmers had adopted alternative crops. The recent data from Namtumbo district, between 2006 and 2014, there has been an increased tonnage in both food and cash crops and decrease of tobacco production. This was due to the sensitization programs on Tobacco Control advocated by various stakeholders, media in particular under the umbrella of TTCF, the key message being, gain the social economic benefits from alternative crops. Meanwhile, in Tabora region located central zone of the country, Miombo woodland project facilitated tobacco farmers to shift to alternative crops. Apart from alternative crops, the initiators of Miombo project established Income Generating Activities (IGAs) like bee keeping, garden, and soap production etc which increased the trend of farmers to shift from tobacco farming.

The objective of the media study was to measure the extent of alternative crop and use it as a tool to advocacy for tobacco control.

Alternative crops have shown good results in tobacco control particularly to the farmers in Ruvuma and Tabora regions. • Media advocacy plated a central role to influence tobacco farmers to shift to alternative crops and IGAs • Advocacy for tobacco control should involve different approaches and stakeholders. • Tobacco farmers still need sensitization program to change their mindset and belief that nothing will change their lives expects tobacco.

• There is great need for both public and private sector to invest a lot in helping tobacco farmers to shift to alternative crops and IGAs. • Increased farmers’ sensitization coupled with sustainable and viable markets, could enable total replacement of tobacco with alternative crops.

Mashaka B. Mgeta   
Association of Tanzania Health Journalists, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania