World No Tobacco Day calls for food, not tobacco crops

Category: Top Stories


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. bulk / bʌlk / (n.) – the most or largest part of something

    They will be shipping the bulk of products next Friday.

  2. premium / ˈpri mi əm / (adj.) – higher or better than usual

    The hotel offers exclusive amenities at premium prices.

  3. ironic / aɪˈrɒn ɪk / (adj.) – interesting, strange, or amusing because it is very different from what was expected

    It’s ironic that the worst student in our freshman class is now a school principal.

  4. end up / ɛnd ʌp / (phrasal v.) – to finally be in a situation, place, or condition that was different from what was intended or expected

    Although he studied engineering, he ended up working as a foreign language teacher.

  5. acute / əˈkyut / (adj.) – very serious or critical

    Rising temperatures made the acute water shortage worse.


Read the text below.

Zimbabwe is Africa’s largest tobacco producer.

The size of the tobacco crop increased despite increased fertilizer prices caused by the war in Ukraine, according to officials. The southern African country now wants to make its tobacco industry more lucrative by manufacturing more cigarettes at home and limiting foreign funding of farmers. Currently, China funds the bulk of production and buys the lion’s share of Zimbabwe’s tobacco.

Once harvested, tobacco leaves are dried and prepared to make products such as cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco and pipe tobacco. At auction, premium prices are paid for the “golden leaf” that is exported around the world.

Dr. Prasad says that food insecurity is growing in countries that should be able to feed their own people. “There are countries now which are requesting for food because of the various crises. The access to food is limited and many of these countries are well endowed with enough land – fertile land, water to grow food for many other countries. And so it’s ironic that they are ending up importing food from other countries.”

In recent years Zimbabwe has rapidly increased the size of its crop, regaining its spot as one of the world’s top five exporters of tobacco, peaking at 261 million kilograms (288,000 tons) in 2019. According to WHO, since 2005, there has been a nearly 20% increase in tobacco farming land across Africa.

The number of people facing acute food insecurity rose to 258 million in 58 countries in 2022, according to the latest Global Report on Food Crises (GRFC). According to a study published by Tobacco Control, a journal on tobacco research in 2021, Zimbabwean tobacco farmers, close to 60% of farmers, said they were in debt. The sample involved 381 farmers.

World No Tobacco Day took place on May 31. The theme this year is: “Grow Food, Not Tobacco.”

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • Why do you think the tobacco industry keeps on growing (ex. produces addictive products, generates high profit margins)? Discuss.
  • What do you think could be done to help control the tobacco industry (ex. regulation of wholesale tobacco prices, higher taxes on tobacco profits)? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think of World No Tobacco Day’s theme this year: “Grow Food, Not Tobacco”? Discuss.
  • The number of people facing acute food insecurity rose to 258 million in 58 countries in 2022. What do you think countries should do to help address this issue? How do you think you can personally contribute to fighting food insecurity? Discuss.