Andhra Pradesh

Tobacco Board defers decision on crop size to August 18

Amidst uncertainty in the global tobacco trade and the price fluctuations that forced the State government to intervene through the A.P. Markfed, the Tobacco Board has postponed the fixation of crop size of the Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco for the year 2020-2021 to August 18.

The Tobacco Board, which held its 151st meeting on Wednesday with an agenda to fix the crop size, decided to postpone the meeting.

Markfed intervention

It is learnt that the State government will now actively intervene in the trade and ensure a level-playing field between the farmers and the traders.

The annual crop size for the year 2019-2020 was 136 million kg. But this year’s auctions remained volatile. The impact of COVID-19 was felt severely, and major tobacco companies refused to give a better price to low and medium grade varieties, forcing the State government to intervene and press Markfed to procure the produce.

Sources in the government said that leading tobacco companies had been giving far lesser prices to the farmers for many years, forcing the government’s intervention.

With the State government now intervening actively, there will be a better trade off for the farmers, it is learnt.

The distress was evident in the year 2015 when the farmers in the SLS and SBS regions in Prakasam district had committed suicide, forcing the Central government to intervene.

The board also discussed in detail the requests of the growers and grower representatives, indents given by the manufacturers and exporters through the Indian Tobacco Association (ITA), past export and domestic trends, global supply and demand scenario, and the effect of COVID-19.

Member of Parliament Bandi Sanjay Kumar, Special Chief Secretary, Agriculture, Poonam Malakondaiah, Executive Director, ITC, R. Muthuraj, Director, CTRI, D. Damodar Reddy, Director, Department of Commerce, Neetika Bansai, and trade representatives from the ITA were present.

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Printable version | Sep 21, 2020 6:31:37 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/tobacco-board-defers-decision-on-crop-size-to-august-18/article32280501.ece

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