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Tanzania should show political will to control
harmful tobacco use: campaigners

DAR ES SALAAM Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Anti-tobacco campaigners on Wednesday appealed to leaders in Tanzania to show political will in ensuring that harmful use of tobacco was controlled.

The appeal was made as the east African nation planned to table a Bill in Parliament in September aimed at controlling harmful use of tobacco.

Tanzania ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, under the World Health Organization (WHO) but the country has not yet enacted a legislation that would control tobacco use.

Lutgard Kagaruki, the Executive Director of Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum (TTCF), said it was high time tougher laws were enacted to counter the power of investors who make huge profits from the tobacco business.

“The new legislation should ensure that harmful tobacco use is controlled to save people from diseases caused by smoking such as cancer,” the anti-tobacco campaigner told journalists in Dar es Salaam.

Kagaruki said tobacco investors were very powerful financially, adding: “They have the power to lobby, advertise and influence.”

She said because of this there was need to have a committed leadership that would help push for a law that would eventually put this power in check.

She said tobacco was thought to be good business that flourished in Tanzania because of the belief that tobacco was an economically important crop and therefore putting tough control policies would lead to loss of revenue by the government.

“But statistics on the negative impact of tobacco use mean that there is need for an urgent change in the way the government looks at things,” said Kagaruki.

Yussuf Saloojee, former Executive Director of South Africa’s National Council against Smoking, called for the need to raise taxes much higher for the tobacco industry.

“There are countries such as Australia which have succeeded in controlling the hazards caused by tobacco by raising taxes,” said Saloojee.

The passing of a tough law, coupled with hiking taxes imposed on tobacco business, would force tobacco companies to raise the cost of cigarettes, he said.

“This would finally influence the behavior of the end users, by discouraging harmful consumption-especially the youth,” said Saloojee.

Sarah Maongezi, from the Department of Non-Communicable Diseases in the Ministry of Health, said the government was currently taking measures to control tobacco use, including working to ensure the bill is tabled in the coming parliament.

Statistics from the Ministry of Health show that 14.1 percent of all people in Tanzania smoke tobacco daily risking to getting diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic respiratory complications.



Tanzania to review forest policy to curb deforestation

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania is set to review the 1998 Forest Policy in an effort to curb deforestation, which cost the east African nation at least 372,000 hectares of forest reserve areas annually, a senior official said Tuesday.

The review has been necessitated by several negative trends in the forestry sector, both locally and internationally, as well as the need to develop a framework to address key challenges facing the sector.

Deputy Permanent Secretary of Tanzania’s ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism Aloyce Nzuki said on Tuesday in Tanzania’s capital Dodoma that the review was necessary to help address the massive deforestation in the country.

He said increasing human activities and the demand for forestry products are among the main threats to the forest, adding that there has been an alarming massive invasion of forest areas in recent years.

The plan, according to Nzuki, is to ensure that the forest sector contribute to the national gross domestic product (GDP) in a more sustainable and effective way.

The 2015 National Forest Resources Monitoring and Assessment Report showed that the forestry resources cover 48 million hectares, about 55 percent of the Tanzania Mainland.

The sector contributes 3.5 percent to the GDP, 10 percent to the foreign earnings and 3 percent to the employment in the formal sector.

Nzuki said the sector also covers 75 percent of materials used in construction sector, adding up to 90 percent of energy sources in remote areas. “It is also an important part of the ecosystem, water and soil protection,” he said.


Tanzania eyes South African market for coffee

ARUSHA, Tanzania (Xinhua) -- Tanzania will soon start selling its processed coffee in South Africa as the country encourages exporting processed coffee products instead of raw beans.

Adolf Mkenda, Permanent Secretary of Tanzania’s Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, said Tuesday that the Tanzania Trade Development Authority (TANTRADE) in collaboration with Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF) have started working on the modalities that will make Tanzanian goods including coffee penetrate into the South African markets.

This is a result of the recent agreements made by Tanzanian and South African presidents—John Magufuli and Jacob Zuma—on the need to encourage bilateral business.

Mkenda encouraged Tanzanian coffee processors to offer products that meet international standards.

“We’re losing billions of Tanzanian shillings when selling raw coffee abroad. A cup of coffee in London, UK and elsewhere in the world is much more expensive compared to what we’ve been selling. As government, we’re determined to change the trend by selling processed coffee. This will benefit coffee growers and all people in the value chain,” said Mkenda.

Edwin Rutageruka, TANTRADE acting Director General, said the East African nation produces one of the best coffee beans in the world, and TANTRADE will distribute more coffee processing machines in Tanzania so that more people can drink coffee produced locally.

Coffee is Tanzania’s largest export crop, whose production averages between 30,000-40,000 tonnes each year. A total of 90 percent of the nation’s coffee farms are smallholders, and there are approximately 270,000 workers in the coffee industry.


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