Tobacco Board advises farmers to confine to approved crop size in Nellore
Tobacco giants like Philip Morris International and others are not showing much interest on the countries like India in view of the absence of contract farming.
Nellore: Tobacco giants like Philip Morris International and others are not showing much interest on the countries like India in view of the absence of contract farming. Andhra Pradesh ranks the first in tobacco production. Farmers are likely to face difficulties with the tobacco giants are evincing interest. The Tobacco Boar has advised the farmers not raise the crop size.
In India, production of flue-cured virginia tobacco (FCV), a variety used in cigarettes, accounts for around 40 per cent of total tobacco produced in the country, which is the third largest producer of FCV tobacco in the world with an annual production of around 240 million kg.
Tobacco cultivation is widespread in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. FCV tobacco, bidi tobacco, cigar filler tobacco and chewing type of tobacco is grown in Andhra Pradesh and Nellore. Farmers are now cultivating Siri variety comes under FCV category. This variety of tobacco is grown in Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Telangana only.
Last year farmers cultivated in around 4,420 hectares and this year, they intended to raise the area under the cultivation. The officials have estimated that the farmers are ready to extend the area under cultivation to 5,500 to 6,000 hectares
As the tobacco giants are not likely to evince much interest, the Tobacco Board has warned farmers not to go beyond the area approved by it. There has been slump in sales by 1.3 per cent across the country between 2013 and 2017 and officials have warned the drop in the sale of tobacco may by about 8 per cent by 2022.
Weather conditions were not favourable last year and hence the farmers in the district were able to sell product up to 56 per cent under low-grade category, but showed good performance across other boards in terms of good price and volume of products. Officials said only landowners can get profits and warned tenant farmers and people who rent the barns are likely suffer loss in case of any trade fluctuations.
"We are currently insisting on the farmers in the region to confine to the approved areas and also asking them to follow the organic form of cultivation for aromatic nature and durability. We are also asking the tenant farmers not to cultivate as they likely face difficulties. Board decides the areas for a specific year, and they have to follow accordingly," said M Lakshmana Rao, Superintendent of the DC Palli Auction Centre.