In an effort to boost the morale of tobacco growers, who are reeling under the impact of falling price for their produce, the Guntur District Tobacco Growers and Curers' Marketing Society entered the market here on Monday.

This followed Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy's announcement of Rs. 20 crore for market intervention earlier this month.

Speaking on the occasion, Ongole MP Magunta Srinivasulu Reddy, who is also Tobacco Board member, assured the farmers to take the issue to the Chief Minister's notice once again to ensure a fair price for their produce.

Farmers complained that the situation had turned from bad to worse after the last round of meeting convened by the Chief Minister on June 2 and pressed for at least Rs. 100 crore for market intervention.

Tobacco Board Chairman G. Kamalavardhana Rao highlighted the steps being taken to impress upon the traders to increase the purchase price, irrespective of the global market intervention.

“I have made it clear to the buyers that it is their responsibility to lift the quantity of tobacco for which they have given indent since the farmers have suffered loss due to excessive rain, affecting productivity,” the chairman told the farmers.

TDP State vice-president K. Balarama Krishnamurthy urged the Centre to direct the State Trading Corporation to intervene in the market in a big way to create buoyancy.

Farmers upset

“The farmers are upset that traders, who had given an indent for 180 million kg, have not fulfilled their commitment to provide Rs. 124 a kg for bright grade following mediation by the board Chairman,” he pointed out.

All-Party Rythu Sanghams' Action Committee leader Ch. Seshaiah sought convening of a full board meeting to adopt a resolution for direct market intervention by the board.

“With the cost of production hovering over Rs. 100 to Rs. 120 per kg in the southern black soil and southern light soil, farmers are not in a position to break even if the average is not more than Rs. 130 per kg,” he opined.

“Instead of increasing the purchase price, manufacturers and exporters have brought down the price further by Rs. 20 to Rs. 30 per kg after the meeting with the Chief Minister, TDP farmers' wing district president K. Venkaiah said.

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