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21.08.2004 Regional News

Let's appreciate tobacco benefits - farmer

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Wenchi (B/A) Aug. 21, GNA - Nana Fosu Kyemereh 11, Benkumhene of Nkoranza Traditional Area, has asked the public to appreciate the immense benefits society derived from tobacco industry. He noted that the industry provided revenue and was great source of livelihood for many farmers, especially those who had switched to the production of tobacco following the destruction of their cocoa farms by bushfires.

Nana Fosu, who is a tobacco farmer in the Nkoranza District, was speaking to newsmen during a visit by a group of Ghanaian and Nigeria journalists to a tobacco Company at Wenchi, to acquaint themselves with the production and processing of tobacco. The tour, which was sponsored by British American Tobacco, gave the Journalists the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the operations of the company. They also visited tobacco farms and afforestation projects embarked on by the company interacted with the farmers.

Nana Fosu explained that apart from payment of huge taxes, the Company and the Tobacco industry at Takoradi provided employment to the youth. He said: "Let us not only focus on the disadvantages of tobacco as been portrayed by the campaign against smoking, but we must also analyse the many benefits it brings to the country ". Nana Fosu said the company gave tobacco farmers interest-free loans for the cultivation of the crop, awarded best farmers and gave scholarships to the children to enable them complete school.

He said the Tobacco Growers Association was working hard to prevent any move aimed at banning the use of tobacco. Mr. Ladi Akeredolu-Ala of Channels TV in Lagos and Abuja said the tour enabled him to observe how tobacco was being grown and processed.

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