Alternative crop for tobacco farming in Lebanon - an effective tool to change and educate on tobacco environmental and economical impact
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Green Hand Organization, Lebanon
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A945
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Several aspects are reasons to work for finding alternative crops for tobacco in Lebanon. As this agriculture is important for the economy of the country, but there are many impacts on the environment, economy, human rights and health of farmer growers.
Tobacco growing cause soil erosion and degradation as well as loss of biodiversity. The excessive use of chemicals causes water pollution and increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide. Tobacco crops deplete soil nutrients by taking more nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium than other major crops.
Farmer growers are all with their family in working hard in this agriculture to receive living wages. Child labourers and females are also at risk of nicotine toxicity caused by handling tobacco leaves without protection during harvest and production with absence of health insurance.
Due to the monopoly, “Regie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs” is the only company ready to get these tobacco products. So, it controls prices in very low levels.
There are many crops that could be an alternative agriculture for tobacco, one of most successful crops is Zaatar: Origanum syriacum.

Intervention or response:
An intervention was made with 15 tobacco farmers in the South of Lebanon, where tobacco farming is one of the most dominant agricultural practice with a cultural and traditional dimension.
The program was initiated by establishing an economic survey, that reflected a high economical shock upon the extensive work of the whole family without consideration to gender and child abuse, as well as the illustration of economical/environmental/health value with the alternatives.

Results and lessons learnt:
A total success of 10 farmers complete shift to alternative cropping and 5 other partial moving to medicinal plants

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Essential need of support to move on with program and creating a great lobby among the producers to move on to ecological, more beneficial cropping.