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Growers and the SDG's

Terms of Reference (provided to Tutwa)

Tobacco is a vital element to the economies of Malawi, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. These five countries provide some 18% of tobacco leaf globally. Not only does the crop provide direct and indirect employment for hundreds of thousands of people and many more dependents, but it also fuels an induced economy built on services such as agronomy, transport, and other industries, such as fertilizers, machine equipment, threshing plants, etc.

In purely cash terms, tobacco represents over $2.0 billion in revenue to these five countries and is a vital generator of scarce of foreign earnings for those countries. In 2012 the primary value chain of tobacco in the SADC and COMESA region was measured at some $10 billion. (Please see attached NKC study).

Yet, there are significant threats to tobacco growing in the region, most of which stem from policies developed by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control FCTC. Some of the Articles of the FCTC specifically aim to curtail the tobacco crop and others damage the value chain of tobacco. Earlier drafts of Articles 17 & 18 of the FCTC sought to limit the acreage, seasons for growing, funding and auctioning of tobacco. Only successful engagement diluted such extreme proposals. Nevertheless, efforts continue to diversify farmers out of tobacco growing. Other extreme Articles contained in and being developed by Articles 9 &10 of the Framework Convention to ban ingredients, flavouring or nicotine content in leaf, if accepted, will have dire consequences for millions of tobacco farmers and related economies.

Further along the legitimate tobacco value chain, efforts aimed at introducing Plain Packaging, will have unintended consequences such as propelling and incentivizing illicit trade in tobacco. Other proposed measures such as efforts to carve out tobacco from international trade agreements constitute would result in an existential threat to the tobacco sector in African tobacco growing countries.

Given the extensive value chain and its importance to African economies, a credible, authoritative and independent research study is required to properly contextualize the tobacco value chain in these five named countries.

The study would have a number of core objectives, inter alia:

Quantify the true traded value of tobacco, including any and all services or industries dependent on it

Measure the total value chain direct and indirect of the tobacco grown in the five countries.

Demonstrate how the tobacco sector in the five countries measures up to and contributes to the achievement of the post 2015 Sustainable Development Goals.

For example, clearly, for SDG 1, tobacco is amongst the best cash crops, providing a steady return to farmers growing it.

For SDG 2, food security programs that sponsor tobacco farmers to grow staple crops with proven success, with yields exceeding self-sufficiency.

For SDG 3 to 7, there are numerous initiatives looking at promoting reforestation, eliminating child labor from the farms and providing access to safe drinking water.

For SDG 8, 9 & 10, the tobacco farmer contract system represents a model of best practices for many other commodities.

A case could be made for the contribution of the tobacco value chain to all SDGs, so the idea would be to focus on the systemic initiatives the industry is promoting to enhance the livelihood of farmers and their workers, while respecting the environment and promoting food security.

The research we seek to commission would also serve as a highly credible counter weight to a report produced by anti-tobacco lobbyist, called “Tobacco antisocial web”. This will be made available to you in order for you to see for yourselves the inaccuracies and misrepresentations contained therein.

We would require elements of the Tutwa research team to conduct at least two in-country visits in order to see the real nature of the tobacco value chain and the development programmes around it.

The study produced should be in the format of an extended comprehensive report and a separate Executive Summary document that can be used for stakeholder engagement.

We would require the research to be completed and published by end June 2016.

We look forward to your provisional proposal and will make ourselves available to consult with you as required.