Development barriers - child labour in tobacco
An industry whose products kills millions of people every year is also challenged with allowing child labour to flourish in countries where extreme poverty remains rife. The Guardian investigates.
A fundamental point is that very few of the profits made by multinational tobacco firms actually makes it into the wages and incomes of households working in the industry.
"For the past decades, the tobacco industry has shifted production away from high income to low income countries, for cost reasons. As in these territories, farmers are likely to be trapped in a cycle of requiring loans at the beginning of each planting season in order to pay for the seeds and fertilizers and find themselves unable to repay them completely after a harvest, all members of the family, thus also including children, are bound to work in tobacco farming to face the debts. This not only prevents the offspring from attaining an educational development, but lays it open to health risks such as acute nicotine poisoning, pesticide exposure and health-related illness."