Role of Tobacco Processing Companies in Spreading Tobacco Cultivation in Bangladesh
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Department of Economics, Lingnan University, Tuen Mun, Hong Kong
Economics Discipline, Khulna University, Khulna-9208, Bangladesh
Khan Mehedl Hasan
Publication date: 2018-06-13
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2018;4(Supplement):A164
Tobacco is socially undesirable as it hurts health and reduces food production. Many stakeholders including WHO and governments are taking initiatives to reduce its cultivation. Bangladesh is an agro-based country where agriculture confronts so many challenges. Despite some anti-tobacco campaigns, tobacco is being cultivated for few decades in some selective regions of Bangladesh. Though there is a skipping trend in tobacco cultivation, new farmers are also entering into this cultivation as well. Some tobacco processing companies (TPCs) are also located at selective tobacco cultivating regions.

Objective: This study attempted to identify role of tobacco processing companies in spreading tobacco cultivation.

The study used primary data collected from 285 tobacco farmers and 174 alternative crop growers, selected randomly from Kushtia, Chuadanga, and Jhenaidah districts of Bangladesh in 2015. Logistic regression was done to identify factors liable for tobacco cultivation over traditional crops. Results_ Result showed that TPCs grabbed some typical limitations of traditional agriculture. TPCs made formal agreement with farmers intend to grow tobacco, and offered them stimulus packages to cultivate tobacco. Statistically significant variables increasing probability of tobacco cultivation over traditional crops were TPCs offered sales guarantee, input subsidy and farming assistance, price stability which all are generally lack in tradition crops. These incentives led higher profitability in tobacco cultivation also. Farmers were also motivated for getting handsome sales earning at one time offered by TPCs. Farmers were motivated by very high sales-production ratio, as nothing is leaked for household consumption. Farmers overlooked health cost, unpaid family labor use and other negative costs for enjoying mentioned incentives provided by local TPCs

The factors behind turning a farmer into a tobacco grower such as unstable price and volatility in sales guarantee in the alternative crops should be taken care by the authority to discourage tobacco cultivation.

The research was funded by Institute for Global Tobacco Control (IGTC) based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA in 2015. The project was selected through open competition under ‘BCCP Tobacco Control Research Grant Program 2015’. It was managed by Bangladesh Center for Communication Programs (BCCP), Dhaka, Bangladesh in collaboration with the Institute for Global Tobacco Control based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA.