The Indian Commerce Ministry is planning to merge five commodity boards under its control, which include the Tobacco Board, according to a Press Trust of India story relayed by the TMA.
The board describes its ‘mission’ as striving for the overall development of tobacco growers and the Indian tobacco industry, and its ‘vision’ as ensuring ‘the smooth functioning of a vibrant farming system, fair and remunerative prices to tobacco growers and export promotion’.
But its responsibilities seem to start and end with Virginia flue-cured tobacco.
The other boards that are due to be merged are those with responsibility for the development of tea, coffee, rubber and spices.
A senior ministry official was quoted as saying that the ministry planned to set up an umbrella organization in an effort to boost agricultural exports and provide better services.
Agri-products account for more than 10 percent of India’s total exports.
But while tobacco, tea, coffee, rubber and spices are seen as having the potential to play an important role in the country’s economic growth, demand and price levels have affected shipments of some of these commodities recently.
The ministry has asked exporters to explore new markets in a bid to boost agricultural commodity exports.
It has asked, too, that consideration be given to offering for export value-added products.