Ramesh Susarla

Average price offered so far came to Rs.68.34

21.5 million kg already lifted from platforms

GUNTUR: For the first time in history, Flue Cured Virginia tobacco produced in India has managed to go past the dream price of two dollars on all auction platforms in Andhra Pradesh with an all-time high of Rs.95.40 a kg offered on Monday for leaf from Jangareddigudem in Northern Light Soils.

This sudden spurt in the price is being seen as an off-shoot of the in-principle approval of Tobacco Board to reduce the total Virginia tobacco production by 50 per cent in 10 years beginning 2009 auction season in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

After this announcement on Sunday by Tobacco Board Chairman J. Suresh Babu clubbed with shortage of quality leaf on the auction platforms and projections of lesser arrivals to command better price by growers in the days to come, traders resorted to ‘Lot Bidding’. This raised the price from Rs.80 a kg to Rs.95.40 on NLS; Rs.85.40 a kg on SLS; Rs.83.60 on Southern Black Soils. Even on the Central Black Soils at Keesara where the auctioning began on Monday, the price took off from Rs.73 a kg.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Suresh Babu expressed happiness at the turn of the events. He advised the traders to negotiate better price in the exports and also pay good price to growers here.

The average price offered so far came to Rs.68.34 a kg with 21.5 million kg already lifted from platforms as on Monday compared to 3 million kg sold last year.