Stringent quality checks to boost AP tobacco exports

Stringent quality checks to boost AP tobacco exports

Stringent quality checks to boost AP tobacco exports.Auctions for tobacco produced across the State began this week. Tobacco Board chairman K Gopal...

Auctions for tobacco produced across the State began this week. Tobacco Board chairman K Gopal stated that the board was greasing its entire machinery to tackle quality problems and see to it that a very high percentage of bright grade tobacco is exported in the current year. He emphasised that sustainability and further development of the tobacco industry can only be achieved through farmer-industry partnership even in an auction-oriented system.

Gopal said that the board’s strategy was to ensure that the tobacco production was free from pesticide residues and non-tobacco related material. “Tobacco growers need to be sensitive to the quality consciousness of international traders and customers. The board has initiated several measures in collaboration with National Institute of Health Management (NIPHM) in Hyderabad and Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) in Rajahmundry for implementing integrated pest management through ecological engineering methods.”The objective, Gopal said, was to wean away chemical pesticides being used by growers and encouraging them to use the right dosage only when it was absolutely essential.

Currently the crop season is on in the State and tobacco is being cultivated in 1.07 lakh hectares by 86,297 growers. It is reaching its first curing. “The board is heavily focussing on the quality of curing by extending handholding. False maturity, wrong curing and wrong grading and presence of foreign matter is a big challenge to the board and spoils the image of Indian tobacco,” the chairman said.Gopal stated that the board was planning to make accurate estimates of area planted and production of Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco using Geographical Information System (GIS) and IT.

“The board is trying to make use of soil mapping for recording the nutrition status of the soils so as to make accurate recommendations on fertilizer use. Special educational programmes to tackle the problems of NIST Traceable Reference Materials (NTRM), CPA residues, and quality and yield development programmes are being implemented,” the chairman explained. The board is also tying up with various institutions to produce CPA residue free clean tobacco by popularising alternative measures of pest control. He appealed to the stakeholders of the industry to come together to build a brand image for Indian tobacco by producing quality tobacco.

By Ravi P Benjamin

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