A delegation of tobacco growers from the Indian State of Andhra Pradesh is planning to travel to New Delhi on August 5 to press the union government for compensation following a decision to slash the state’s flue-cured production target, according to a story in the Hindu.
Earlier this month the 2015-16 authorized flue-cured crop for Andhra was cut by 30 percent from that of 2014-15.
The Tobacco Board decided – based on indications given by the Indian Tobacco Association (representing tobacco manufacturers, dealers and exporters) – to fix the crop size for 2015-16 at 120 million kg as against 172 million kg for 2014-15.
The board decided also to limit the production strictly to the authorized crop size by dealing ‘sternly’ with excess production; so as to ensure fair and remunerative prices to growers, according to a board press note.
It was reported that the board had reduced the size of the crop for 2015-16 after taking into consideration the gloomy situation on the world market, the presence of carryover stocks, declining demand for tobacco on the domestic market and growers’ demands for ‘remunerative prices for their produce’.
Meanwhile, the board extended the flue-cured tobacco auctions currently being staged in Andhra until September because of the slow rate of sales. Flue-cured auctions typically take place from January to July in Andhra and from September to February in Karnataka.
The delegation aims to meet Union Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to press the government to announce a compensation of Rs1 million (US$ 15,600) for every tobacco barn that is dismantled because of the decision to reduce the crop size.
The growers also want the board’s trade wing to purchase this season’s low grade tobacco at Rs75 (US$ 1.17) per kg and medium grade tobacco at Rs110 (US$ 1.72) per kg.
The growers noted that while the Health Ministry wanted to phase out tobacco cultivation in line with the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the Commerce Ministry was trying to increase tobacco exports.