Kamis , 05 Juli 2012, 22:36 WIB

Tobacco farmers and govt meet

Rep: Indah Wulandari/Ahmad Reza Safitri/Satya Festiani/Umi Lailatul / Red: Yeyen Rostiyani
Antara/Saiful Bahri
Tobacco farmers in Pamekasan, Madura (illustration)
Tobacco farmers in Pamekasan, Madura (illustration)

REPUBLIKA.CO.ID, JAKARTA - Thousands farmers rallied over tobacco bill on the last two days in Jakarta finally come home with satisfaction as government guarantees that tobacco is still allowed to grow on their farms.

The 30-minute meeting between 15 representatives of farmers and Deputy III of Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare, Emil Agustiano, on Wednesday emphasized that the bill was made to protect people's health. 

Agustiano explained the aims of the bill were to protect the youth from dangers of cigarette and to decrease the burden of state financial budget to cure the tobacco victims, which now reached 34 trillion IDR. He added, the substance of the bill did not directly rule the tobacco. 

"The bill does not prohibit people to sell cigarette, except in certain places. But the bill underlines the danger of cigarette," Agustiano said.

The coordinator of the farmers, Zulfan Kurniawan, felt satisfied over Agustiano's explanation. "We are glad that the farmers are still allowed to plant tobacco," he said.

Meanwhile, the Vice Minister of Health, Ali Ghufron Mukti, said the bill would be signed into law on July 14. The contents, he said, accommodated the input from every party, from the farmers to cigarette industries.

Yet, the farmers still object on some matters, such as the level of tar and tobacco import. Ghufron said the tar must be limited because it affected badly to the passive smokers. Ghufron also emphasized that the tobacco import was banned.

On contrary, the Association of Indonesian Tobacco Farmers (APTI) still denounces the bill. APTI claims that the Minister does not provide a room for discussion on the bill. APTI warns the government that the tobacco farmers will blockade the streets, railways, airports, and ports if government signs the bill.