Farmers to meet MPs from tobacco-growing areas

Farmers say the prices of tobacco have come down further this year, making cultivation unremunerative.

Farmers say the prices of tobacco have come down further this year, making cultivation unremunerative.  

They will discuss ways to resolve instability in the crop price

The Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene have decided to convene a meeting of Lok Sabha MPs from tobacco-growing regions in the State to resolve the instability in prices of tobacco that has impacted the lives of thousands of farmers.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, KRRS leader Badagalapura Nagendra said the MPs of Mysuru, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, and Mandya will be invited for a meeting with the tobacco growers, who are aggrieved over the slump in prices of the crop.

Tobacco is cultivated in about two lakh hectares of land in Karnataka, mostly in Periyapatna and Hunsur taluks of Mysuru Lok Sabha constituency, H.D. Kote in Chamarajanagar Lok Sabha segment and K.R. Nagar that falls in Mandya Lok Sabha constituency, besides parts of Hassan district.

While the cost of cultivation of tobacco is around ₹150 per kg, the average price of the commodity was ₹140 per kg last year. But, this year, the prices have come down further, making tobacco cultivation unremunerative, Mr. Nagendra said.

As per the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendation to ensure that farmers were entitled to a profit of at least 50% of the cost cultivation, the farmers should receive more than ₹200 per kg, he argued.

Though the country earns taxes worth more than ₹36,000 crore per year, the Centre and the Tobacco Board are not coming forward to stand by the tobacco farmers in their hour of difficulty, he said.

Hence, farmers will invite MPs Pratap Simha, V. Srinivas Prasad, Sumalatha, and Prajwal Revanna for a meeting in Periyapatna on November 18 to discuss the tobacco growers’ problems.

In addition to the 56,000 registered tobacco growers, there are about 25,000 unlicensed growers in the State. Hence, the lives of over 80,000 families are at stake, said Mr. Nagendra.

He said the tobacco farmers are ready to give up cultivation if the government offers a special package, including a compensation of ₹10 lakh for every barn, besides coming up with an alternative crop for their livelihood.

Though the farmers agree that consumption of tobacco was harmful, the government should consider the livelihood of the families that are dependent on tobacco cultivation, he said.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 12:32:17 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/farmers-to-meet-mps-from-tobacco-growing-areas/article29965370.ece

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