Powerful tobacco companies are encouraging farmers to switch to growing this harmful plant rather than food crops on prime agricultural land. With seeds and other inputs coming from thecompanies, as well as 100% guaranteed sale of the cured leaves to the companies , farmers obviously find it far more profitable than rice or vegetables. They do not care that the tobacco plant destroys the fertility of the soil in the long run, not to mention the health of present and future smokers.
If smoking is what these companies want to encourage, why not go for cannabis sativa instead ? This versatile hemp plant has over the years been wrongly maligned, and the tobacco industry has a lot to do with the mal-propaganda. The cannabis sativa plant is actually the plant kingdom’s richest source of life-giving essential fatty acids and should not be kept in the doghouse simply because the tetra-hydra-cannabinol (THC), derived from the flowers, leaves and resin of this versatile plant, happens to be much sought-after as a recreational ‘soft’ drug.
Its medicinal properties and nutritional value, apart from other useful applications, have been far more important for centuries which is why the National Institute of Oilseed Products in the USA fought against its prohibition in the 1930s. Its seeds were used both for oil and as oatmeal. Millions of people have been known to use the cannabis plant for food, especially in periods of famine. In addition the fibre could be spun into twine and yarn. So, it is not as harmful as tobacco and can be economically more valuable. So tobaccocompanies should switch to cannabis.
By M Syedul Haque