MUHAMMADIYAH.ID, JAKARTA – General Secretary of Muhammadiyah Abdul Mu’ti appreciated Muhammadiyah Tobacco Control Network (MTCN) to reduce the prevalence of smokers in Indonesia. Nevertheless, he reminded the MTCN to consider tobacco farmers.
“We should carry out advocacy- and empowerment-based programs so that we can provide solutions for program-affected people,” declared Abdul Mu’ti on Saturday (12/6) in the forum conducted by the Muhammadiyah Council for Public Health.
The tobacco farmers focus on agriculture instead of agribusiness so that the MTCN should think about upstream to downstream impacts of the program on them.
In April 2021, the MTCN established a sustainable program, Sekolah Tani. It’s the school for tobacco farmers so that they can shift onto other commodity with modern technology.
Engaging Muhammadiyah universities, the Sekolah Tani was founded in several cities under the control of the Muhammadiyah Council for Community Empowerment.
“We offer alternatives to the farmers to earn a living from farming other than tobacco. I think the Sekolah Tani is successful,” he expressed.
On the other hand, cigarette industries thrive because there is no alternative to labor-intensive jobs with adequate income. Abdul Mu’ti believed if alternative jobs are available, the cigarette industries will gradually be closed.
“Answering the issue by giving alternatives can raise public awareness. We have to be able to cope with challenges, innovate, and provide services which benefit people,” he explained.
“We may not conduct reactive programs without any solutions. We may forbid smoking, but we have to provide alternatives. Thus, we should work together,” he concluded.