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Malawi to ratify convention on tobacco control

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Malawi is set to ratify the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (CFTC) by November next year, the Tobacco Commission (TC) has said.

TC interim Board Chairperson Gift Chimowa said this last week at the 2022 International Tobacco Grower Associations (ITGA) Annual General Meeting in Castelo Branco, Portugal.

The CFTC is the first international treaty adopted by the World Health Assembly in 2003 to promote public health in response to the impact of tobacco smoking by world populations.

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Parties to the convention are expected to implement some legislation designed to promote public health.

Up to 182 countries have since ratified the convention.

In his presentation at the AGM, Alliance One International Corporate Affairs Director and Managing Director Michiel Reering cited Malawi as one of the countries that are yet to ratify the convention. Other countries that are yet to ratify the convention include the USA, Argentina and Indonesia.

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However, Commissioner Gift Chimowa told delegates at the ITGA meeting that Malawi is ready to join the Conference of Parties in ratifying the convention.

“A decision has been made at a high level for Malawi to ratify the framework convention by November 2023,” Chimowa said.

Chimowa said all along Malawi was under the impression that ratifying the convention would have a negative bearing on the production of tobacco, the country’s biggest forex earner.

According to Chimowa, processes leading to the ratification of the convention are being handled by the office of the Attorney General.

Head of Nicotine and Cannabis Research at Euromonitor International Shane MacGuill said the AGM regulation tops the list of factors affecting tobacco markets today.

Among other issues, he said, concerns around environmental sustainability in the tobacco industry are on the rise.

“Tobacco growing countries should, therefore, take this as an opportunity for the industry to demonstrate its commitment as well,” he said.

Malawi, which has grown tobacco for more than 100 years, is a key producer of burley tobacco which is in high demand in the world.

The Tobacco Commission is currently leading industry efforts to promote compliance with environmental, social and governance requirements.

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