Tobacco is a multi- million dollar industry and is Zimbabwe’s most valuable export but underneath all that wealth lies the hidden story of child labour and the exposure of these children to nicotine poisoning or Green Tobacco sickness.
Tobacco companies in Zimbabwe generated US$933.7 million in 2016 but they have no regard for the health and safety of the tobacco farmers and their families, especially their children. Given the amount of money that these tobacco companies make you would think that providing adequate training and ensuring that the farmers had protective equipment to protect themselves against nicotine poisoning would be a priority for them, but its not.
In his inauguration speech President Mnangagwa stated that agriculture would be a key pillar of the government’s plans to revive the economy but currently this is being done at the expense of the health and safety of not only the farm workers but their children who also work in these tobacco farms. Every child has the right to be nurtured and to be protected against exploitation but a great disservice is being done to these children and those in positions of authority are not moved by the plight of these children as long as the tobacco keeps rolling in and in turn the money generated from it.
The Zimbabwean government has a Ministry of Health and Child Care dedicated to the welfare of children and yet no one is doing anything to help these children in the tobacco farms. These children are the future generations of tomorrow and they deserve every much the same care that the Ministers of Zimbabwe give to their own children. There should be no child who is more deserving of better care and protection than another and all those in the Ministry of Health and Child Care have a duty of care towards these children and are responsible for their plight….and because you’re their leader ED you’re responsible