The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has spoken out against the full implementation of the World Health Organisation's tobacco control recommendations in the region
The recommendations seek to place a 70 per cent tax on tobacco products which will therefore reduce tobacco growing in WHO member countries.
The recommendations are made in the WHO’s framework convention on tobacco control (FCTC) policy document.
"Such proposals must be ventilated because tobacco growing represents an important economic activity in Kenya and indeed, other African countries," KAM chief executive officer, Betty Maina, was quoted as saying by Nairobi’s The Star.
Maina said that the tobacco industry had created jobs and that controlling the sale and distribution of tobacco should be administered according to individual country laws.
The FCTC document recommends the gradual migration of tobacco farmers to other crops but KAM warned that this may increase poverty levels within the key tobacco growing areas of the country.
The move would adversely impact the 40,000 tobacco farmers in Kenya and more than 1.5mn farmers in countries like Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania, according to KAM.