Elimination of tobacco growing is possible: a case study from Karnataka India
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Department of Health and Family Welfare, Government of Karnataka, State Anti Tobacco Cell, Department of Health and Family Welfare, India
The Union South East Asia Office, New Delhi, Tobacco Control, India
Government of Karnataka, Agriculture Department, India
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A397
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Article 17 and 18 of WHO's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control mandates Parties to adopt strategies for alternative farming for tobacco growers. The Indian state of Karnataka has shown its commitment in tobacco control. However Karnataka is also the second largest tobacco growing state India. The registered tobacco growers in the state have more than doubled has grown by 222.59% (from 18751 to 41737) and the area under tobacco cultivation has increased by 269.72% (from 29852 hectares to 80516 hectares) from in 2001 and 2016.

Since 2015, Karnataka has adopted supply reduction measures of tobacco crop in a phased manner. The Department of Agriculture and Horticulture in collaboration with The Tobacco Board has piloted a project to help shift tobacco growers to alternative crops and adopt new cropping patterns. It has undertaken sensitization of farmers to adopt alternative cropping, provided access to soft loans from banks, free soil testing, drip irrigation, subsidized fertilizer, among other incentives; and have linked them to Horticultural Producers' Co-operative Marketing and Processing Society Ltd. (HOPCOMS) to ensure market for grown products.

In Hunsur block of Mysore 1000 tobacco growers have voluntarily stopped tobacco farming and have adopted alternate crops. Given the early success of the pilot project, The Government has scaled up the intervention from current 250 hectares to 4500 hectares, covering other four blocks in three tobacco growing districts.

Tobacco farmers are ready to shift to other crops or cropping patterns but need guidance and support from Government. Farmers realize that there is limited future in tobacco cultivation due to variability in rain and declining fertility of soil which they attribute to monocropping of tobacco; and more importantly an increasing awareness among the public (and growers) on the harms of tobacco use.

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