Tobacco farmers say the continued ban on tobacco products will result in massive job losses. Tobacco meant for export markets is allowed under the ban. However, farmers say the export market is not the biggest consumer as compared to the domestic market.
Tobacco farmer from Vaalwater in Limpopo, Edna Klopper, says they have started incurring financial losses due to the ban.
Klopper also says they are concerned about the effects on farmworkers.
“We call the direct, indirect and induced markets that are affected by this ban … there is a whole process that is affected by this ban. We are talking about 296 000 jobs. I am not talking about their dependents; just the jobs. If you add the dependants, we have just above half a million people that are facing starvation. Just by one ban.”
Some farmworkers employed at tobacco-producing farms at Vaalwater in Limpopo say the industry has provided livelihoods for their families for years.
‘This job has helped me take my children to school. We are hurt by the ban. The tobacco industry is so big, and we are busy throughout the year. We are making an appeal to the government to allow the sale of cigarettes. This will save our jobs.”
Several protests have been staged against the ban: