Looking to quit

| January 16, 2018

Some flue-cured tobacco growers in the Prakasam district of Andhra Pradesh, India, are willing to quit the crop if the union government will compensate them to the tune of Rs1,000,000 per barn, according to a story on The Hindu Online.

Having suffered four consecutive years of drought, some of the growers operating in the traditional Southern Black Soil (SBS) and Southern Light Soil (SLS) areas of Prakasam are keen to quit flue-cured tobacco growing if the government provides compensation for dismantling the barns permanently.

The SBS and SLS areas account for 50 percent of the tobacco grown in Andhra Pradesh.

YSR Congress Party’s chief whip in Parliament, Y.V. Subba Reddy, is due to lead a delegation of farmer leaders to New Delhi to press for a suitable financial package to be included in the Union Budget.

The proposal is being presented as being in line with the strategy of reducing tobacco production laid out by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

And it is being seen as almost inevitable as drought-hit growers have been forced already to cut down tobacco curing per barn by about 20 percent and fear that further reductions could render cultivation and processing unviable.

Any tobacco reduction strategy that did not include a reduction in the number of barns would be a futile exercise, the growers say.

The Hindu story said the clamor for quitting tobacco growing had gathered steam since 2015 when the sector saw a spate of suicides among growers, forcing the-then Union Commerce Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, to visit the area and help growers by offering compensation of Rs20 per kg for low-grade tobacco that had no takers on the regular market.

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Category: Breaking News, Leaf, People, Sustainability

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