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The sustainability of the tobacco growing chain has been discussed for several years to this part. Tobacco growers, as an importance piece of the sector have come together to develop various initiatives to address the impacts that growing the crop might be having on the environment and the society as a whole. In Agriculture, the adoption of the Good Agricultural Practices by farmers has helped to control several of the issues that were attributed to the tobacco industry. Several associations of tobacco growers have developed initiatives that go beyond aiding/instructing growers on farming practices. The measures they promote help tobacco grower’s families in many different ways.

Agriculture is considered one of the most hazardous activities as people handle sharp implements, carry heavy weights on uneven ground, perform repetitive tasks, are likely to be exposed to quite warm temperatures, handle potentially harmful materials and may be exposed to dusts or chemicals linked to the crop itself, and so on.

Our members are trained on a specific issue of tobacco production, which is the risk to be exposed to the nicotine in the leaf when performing some operations. In conditions of high temperature and high humidity nicotine can be absorbed by the bare skin in prolonged contact with the wet leaf and cause symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, painful breathing, heart-racing, nausea and vomiting. This condition of malaise is called Green Tobacco Sickness. There are no clear statistics on the matter nor consistent reporting of the cases: farmers are made aware of the condition and what needs to be done to prevent it, such as wearing protective equipment when entering a field with well-developed leaves when it is very hot and humid.

Same as with all other crops, fertilizers and plant protection products are used to obtain higher yields. Even if these products undergo a very severe registration process and are constantly reviewed by the FAO and the WHO for their impacts on health, these products present hazards and need careful handling. Our members are trained on safe storage, handling and disposal of these products and on the use of appropriate protective equipment.

Projects Developed by the Misiones Tobacco Growers Association:

  • Crop Diversification (Citrus Fruit, Stevia, Pig and Poultry Production)
  • Rural electrification
  • Water well drilling (Water reservoirs)
  • Afforestation
  • Dairy Farming (including a Cheese factory)
  • Health Care, Crop and Barn Insurance

Projects Developed by Fedetabaco (Colombia):

  • Toxic Agrochemicals Project (Support for safe storage of toxic agrochemicals)
  • Technical Assistance and Technology Transfer (Training and Technical Advice)
  • Maize, Bean, Avocado and Tangerine Project (Diversification Project)

Projects developed by Instituto Crescer Legal:

  • Fighting Child Labour on Tobacco Growing
  • Enabling alternatives for teenagers
  • Learning new skills (trade school) and generating income
  • Developing and harness potential

Project Life is Green – Afubra (Brazil) since 1986:

  • Distance Updating Course (DUC) offered free to schoolmasters of partner schools
  • Rural Environmental Education course.
    • The objective is to provide the teachers with inputs from the partner schools of the Life is Green Program with promoting quality education.
  • 4.8 million tree seedlings distributed free of charge to schools and environmental projects
  • 85,000 Ecology Series workbooks available to project participants
  • 292 municipalities of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná are project partners participating in the PSA, PASA and Saturated Oil Collection Program
  • 3 million teaching and teaching material distributed (booklets, books, manuals, notebooks, rulers
  • 266 thousand teachers and students assisted by the Green is Life Project

Projects Developed by the Tobacco Association of Zambia

  • Afforestation Programs
    • Woodland management
    • Barn efficiency improvements
    • Research projects on optimal curing facilities
    • Rocket barns and Bulk curers
    • Promoting the use of bricks instead of wood for the structures
    • Mandatory planting of trees per tobacco hectare


  • Child Labour
    • Strengthening comunities
    • Withdrawing children
    • Providing income generating activities for vulnerable families
    • Schooling of children is a priority