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AGM 2021, online

The honorable Minister of Agriculture of Zambia Reuben M’Tolo Phiri addressed the Issues Day of the International Tobacco Growers’ Association 2021 Annual General Meeting recognizing ITGA’s key role in the global tobacco sector.

On 18-19 November the International Tobacco Growers' Association (ITGA) held its 36th Annual General Meeting (AGM). Due to the ongoing challenges posed by the global pandemic, the event took place in an online environment for the second time in a row.

On his keynote address, the Minister highlighted the important mission ITGA was founded for by pointing out ITGA main objectives: “To improve growers’ Members Livelihood through respectful agriculture practices” moreover “"ITGA main strength are its Members associations around the world. Thanks to them ITGA can benefit from national and regional engagements and build up its global network".

The Issues Day on November 18th attracted more than 100 attendees from five continents, representing more than 20 countries.

ITGA President, Abiel Masache Banda "ITGA and its member associations in different regions are the perfect platforms to reach out to farmers, either to work with them or to provide support when needed".

Antonio Abrunhosa (ITGA CEO): “2021 has brought some growth in both production volumes and prices in many of the leading tobacco growing markets”.

Ivan Genov (Tobacco Expert at ITGA: “What seems certain is that the pressure on the sector will remain strong. Growing prices of key inputs, inflation, logistics complications and the increasing sustainability pressures, that create new supply chain requirements from companies and governments, will impact the sector's trajectory”.

Shane MacGuill (Global Lead Nicotine & Cannabis at Euromonitor International): “Global cigarette volumes declined by 4% while illicit penetration maintained its importance at 12%. In addition, the proportion of cigarettes in the total tobacco value sales mix continues to decline. Alternatively, heated tobacco is getting established as the most important reduced-risk category, in part due to investment from companies and to regulatory issues surrounding e-vapour”.

Michiel Reerink (International Corporate Affairs Director and Managing Director at Alliance One) “COP9 (of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control FCTC) reports about technical matters including heated tobacco, research of evidence on novel and emerging products as well as the guidelines on advertising were deferred without discussion until COP10. Another focus was the increasing regulatory requirements around supply chains and EU's resolution on corporate accountability”.

On November 19th, the second day of the ITGA AGM 2021: ITGA members agreed on the increasing number of challenges the sector is facing. Growers’ involvement in key issues related with the sector must be reinforced on the global scene. ITGA has to keep its role by providing tools and networks, hence, helping its members to make informed decisions advocating on their behalf, reinforcing the ITGA membership worldwide, promoting respectful social and environmental agriculture practices.

António Abrunhosa, announced his retirement as CEO position he has held since 1998. ITGA Members express their gratitude and highlighted his extraordinary role in positioning ITGA in the global scenario as a key player in the tobacco sector. Mercedes Vázquez was appointed as new CEO of ITGA: “In my new role I will do my best to continue this learning process from all of you so I can ensure and reinforce the long-lasting relations with our Partners so we can together overcome the common challenges we are facing in our sector”.

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