Tobacco farmers expect better price

S. Murali
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Stage is set to launch e-auction from February 14

Tobacco being processed at Mangamur near Ongole.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas
Tobacco being processed at Mangamur near Ongole.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

The tobacco farmers are hoping to realise a better price this year as the auctioning of the principal commercial produce is all set to start in two platforms in the Ongole region of the Tobacco Board from February 14 under the new e-auctioning system.

“For the first time, e-auctioning is being introduced this year to ensure transparency, accountability, traceability and create sound competition among buyers,” Tobacco Board Regional Manager G. Bhaskar Reddy said while talking to The Hindu after holding a meeting with bankers to make e-payments to farmers from this year.

“We are fully prepared to hold e-auctions. Staff and buyers had been trained and mock auctions were conducted under the overall supervision of Board Chairman C.V.Subba Rao who has recently visited the fields in the region for an assessment,” he said.

Major players, including Indian Tobacco Company (ITC), Godfrey Phillips India (GPI) and Ethnic Tobacco (P) Ltd, are likely to enter the market as e-auction auction commences at D.C.Palli and Kaligiri from Thursday.

“This will be followed by auctions from Podili I and II on February 21,” the Regional Manager informed. Auctioning in other platforms in the Ongole region would be taken up from February-end or early March, he added.

With high grade tobacco accounting for more than 50 to 50 per cent of the production of 77.14 million in the Ongole region this year, the farmers could expect a better average price, Mr Reddy said. The farmers in the region had got an average price of Rs 84.66 per kg marketing 74.36 million kg last year.

“The situation is favourable to us with not much carryover stocks with traders and good demand for Indian tobacco in the international market. We expect to realise a better average price this year,” Virginia Tobacco Growers Welfare Association President Ch. Seshaiah said.

“We want the auctioning to commence with a remunerative price of Rs 145 per kg for the high grade,” Mr Seshaiah said.

“As much as 50 per cent of the crop is ready with the growers for marketing,” he added.

“Auctioning is still in progress in neighbouring Karnataka and likely to continue till March-end,” Tobacco Board sources said. The crop size for entire Andhra Pradesh had been fixed at 170 million kg.

  • E-auction is expected to ensure competition among buyers

  • Crop size for entire Andhra Pradesh had been fixed at 170 million kg

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