Need to identify alternative crops to tobacco: board

Special Correspondent

‘Farmers will continue to get support as they shift to alternative crops’

India is under obligation to halve tobacco cultivation in the country by 2020

Total area under tobacco cultivation in the State is 90,427 hectares

MYSORE: The Tobacco Board will continue to support tobacco farmers as they shift to alternative crops. Since India is a signatory to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control it is under obligation to halve tobacco cultivation in the country by 2020.

Disclosing this here on Thursday, J. Suresh Babu, Chairman, Tobacco Board, said that though it was the golden age for tobacco in view of the high demand in the international market and remunerative prices, there was a need to identify alternative crops because of the health hazards associated with tobacco. Mr. Babu was speaking at a seminar on “Alternative crops for Flue Cured Virginia tobacco in Karnataka”.

He said there was a need to reduce tobacco cultivation and look at providing rehabilitation and compensation in a phased manner. Mr. Babu mentioned that a package under which tobacco farmers would be given Rs. 5 lakh each for opting to shift to alternative crops was pending before the Government.

A majority of the speakers underlined the imperatives of tobacco farmers shifting to other crops. V. Krishnamurthy, Director, Central Tobacco Research Institute, Rajahmundry, presented an overview of the alternative crops available.

Flue cured tobacco is cultivated in India mainly in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, apart from a few small areas in Orissa and Maharashtra. In Karnataka, it is one of the principal commercial crops cultivated in the traditional belt covering Mysore, Hassan, Madikere, Davanagere and parts of Shimoga, Chamarajanagar and Chikamagalur. In Mysore district, the taluks of Hunsur, H.D. Kote and Periyapatana alone account for over 80 per cent of the State’s total tobacco production.

The total area under tobacco cultivation in the State 90,427 hectares which produced 103 million kg of tobacco.

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