Tobacco price heartening, says Sivaji

Special Correspondent

It has fetched an all-time high of Rs.162 a kg

ONGOLE: Tobacco fetched an all-time high price of Rs. 162 a kg in the northern light soils of West Godavari district. The tobacco grown even in northern and central black soils of Krishna, Guntur and Prakasam districts fetched an attractive price of Rs. 128 a kg.

The jubilant farmers sold away 92 million kg till now and obtained an average price of Rs. 99 a kg as against Rs. 77 they got last year.

Though Tobacco Board permitted a production of 170 million kg this year, farmers produced an estimated 190 million kg. As farmers are bringing about two million kg per day for sale, all the auction platforms are witnessing brisk sales. At this rate, farmers may take 50 days more to exhaust their produce. Former MP and president of Andhra Pradesh Virginia Tobacco Growers Association, Y. Sivaji, expressed happiness over the ruling price. “It was dream coming true for tobacco growers who have been agitating for a price at par with other countries”, he said.

Tobacco production declined in Zimbabwe and Brazil and Europe and America are phasing out subsidies. Tobacco growing countries reached an agreement to reduce production progressively to make the world tobacco free in the next 10 years.

All these factors led to decline in production and pushed up demand making the prices soar, he said. He pointed out that the tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh observed crop holiday 10 years ago as they failed to get an average price of Rs. 30 per kg. The situation has changed dramatically in the last decade.

Dr. Sivaji called upon the floor leaders to consolidate the farmers and keep them vigilant to sustain the high price to avoid the exporters and traders exploit them.

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