Laiqh A. Khan
Improved quality tobacco realises good prices
Average price is now Rs. 56.60 a kg as against Rs. 55.94 last year
Price paid by exporters at the auction platforms more than matched farmers’ expectations
MYSORE: Tobacco farmers in Karnataka, who were apprehensive of a collapse in the price of their export-quality produce on account of the depreciating dollar, are heaving a sigh of relief. For the exporters are making a beeline to the tobacco auction platforms in different parts of Mysore and adjoining Hassan districts, and are not averse to paying a few dollars more for the improved quality of tobacco.
With more than 80 per cent of the tobacco grown in the light soil of Mysore region, the strengthening of the rupee against the dollar had become a constant source of worry for the 50,000-odd tobacco farmers in the region.
But, the swift purchase of tobacco grown in the region since the auction season began in the first week of September and the relatively better price the commodity is commanding has brought smiles to their faces.
The good quality of tobacco harvested this season has helped offset the likely decline in prices on account of the appreciating rupee. Against an average price of Rs. 55.94 a kg realised last year, it now fetches Rs. 56.60 a kg so far this year. Also, more than 40 million kg of tobacco has been sold by mid-November this year as against 39 million kg sold by December 18 in the previous season.
“The quality of tobacco harvested this season is on the right side,” said Vishakantaiah, Regional Manager, Tobacco Board, Mysore to The Hindu on Thursday. The tobacco grown this year has been of a “mature” quality and hence enjoys a good demand in the international market, he added.
The exchange rate of a dollar, which was hovering around Rs. 44 last year, has plummeted to less than Rs. 40 today. Yet, the price paid by exporters, who were found in full strength at the auction platforms in Mysore region, more than matches the expectations of the farmers.
Tobacco cultivation in Karnataka, which is largely confined to Mysore region, has also weathered the bad climatic conditions in the region, which witnessed heavy rainfall this year.
The crop size in Karnataka for the ensuing year had been fixed at 95 million kg. The output of tobacco is expected to be in the region of 92 to 94 million kg, Mr. Vishakantaiah added. One of the reasons attributed by the Tobacco Board for the brisk off-take of tobacco this season is the absence of any hindrances from the farming community. The auction platforms had been closed a few weeks last year on account of a collapse in the prices, forcing the suspension of trade.