Andhra Pradesh

‘Centre has only put a comma to agriculture reforms, not full stop’

Tobacco Board Chairman Y. Raghunadha Babu inspecting the crop affected by incessant rain, near Kandukur, in Prakasam district.   | Photo Credit: KOMMURI SRINIVAS

A day after the repeal of the controversial farm laws, Tobacco Board Chairman Y. Raghunadha Babu on Wednesday asserted that the Union Government would ally the misapprehensions of the farmers before coming up with a comprehensive legislation to give a push to the reforms in the agriculture sector.

“We will convince the agriculturists on the urgent need for reforms in the farm sector and the new laws to ensure a fair deal for the farmers,” Mr. Raghunadha Babu told the media here.

He ruled out putting a break to the reforms in the agriculture sector.

“We have only put a comma and not a full stop,” the BJP leader asserted.

“New pieces of legislation will definitely be taken up after evolving a broad consensus and a comprehensive debate among the stakeholders,” he made it clear.

The Tobacco Board, in the wake of opposition from a section of the farmers to contract farming, would take the initiative to document the best farm practices adopted at the grassroots level to convince the global players of the quality of the produce so that the farmers got the best price for their produce, he said.

Farm mechanisation

The Tobacco Board would promote farm mechanisation in the wake of acute labour shortage and barn modernisation in a big way. It would encourage the farmers who had gone for loose leaf barns during last year to set up at least 25 such barns for curing of flue-cured tobacco during the rabi to help the growers to remain competitive in the global market, Mr. Raghunadha Babu said.

The Tobacco Board chief, who visited the rain-affected farms in the southern light soil (SLS) and the southern black soil (SBS) regions, promised hand-holding for the farmers to go for re-plantation and gap filling to produce the targeted 74.23 million kg.

He said the global demand for leaf could be expected to go up this year after the COVID-induced slump in the previous two cropping seasons, and wanted the farmers to grow the crop in full extent in the wake of the exporters picking up the previous years’ stocks with the traders now.

One-third of the planted tobacco in about 21,400 hectares had been damaged following incessant rain in the last 20 days, according to Tobacco Board sources.

Tobacco seedlings had also been damaged in the wake of unabated rains.

‘Slash GST’

Meanwhile, members of the Tobacco Dealers’ Association, led by its president P. Venkatesan, urged the Centre to reduce the GST from 28% to 5% on packed tobacco on par with leaf, as packaging was done only to preserve the leaf.

They wanted the Centre to exclude tobacco from the negative list for them to get liberal funding from the banks. They also pleaded for waiver of interest on loans taken from banks for three years, as they could not carry out their business during the COVID-19 period, said a tobacco dealer, Ch. Ravi Babu.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 6:45:29 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/centre-has-only-put-a-comma-to-agriculture-reforms-not-full-stop/article37797704.ece

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