Tobacco growers in Sumenep regency, East Java, are asking the local government to regulate the purchase price of tobacco in a bid to avoid what they described as ‘huge, protracted’ losses, according to an en.tempo.co story.
“We are entering harvest time, yet there is still no word on the tobacco price range,” the chairman of Ganding Village Model Farmers Group, Syairi, was quoted as saying.
A regulated price range, he added, would help farmers determine the prices at which they should sell their tobacco to merchants. Without a regulated price, merchants tended to offer very low prices, regardless of the tobacco’s quality.
“We ask the government to set prices based on the amount of capital we spend,” said Syairi.
Meanwhile, it was reported that Heni Yulianto, of Sumenep’s Industry and Trade Bureau, had previously said that local governments could not regulate tobacco prices because tobacco was categorized as free goods, which meant that its price was determined by its quality and the level of demand from cigarette producers.
Nevertheless, Heni said local governments would continue to monitor the purchase price of tobacco. If prices were considered to be too low, the government, the Legislative Council, the Tobacco Farmers Association and representatives of cigarette producers would always hold discussions to find the best solution.
“That is all the government can do,” she said.