Foreign buyers may have an opportunity to participate in tobacco auctions beginning in 2015 in India’s Mysuru district, located in the southern part of the state of Karnataka. An assurance to this effect was given by Union Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Dec. 17, according to Mysuru-Kodagu MP Pratap Simha.
A delegation led by Simha and Andhra Pradesh MPs met the minister in New Delhi on Dec. 17 on behalf of tobacco growers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, according to an article in the Business Standard. The team explained the problems faced by the cultivators, which included a fall in prices this year.
“The talks were fruitful,” a release from the MP said. The Union Minister had responded favorably to the appeal to permit foreign buyers to participate in the auctions so that the growers can get good prices. She agreed to set up the necessary facilities for foreign buyers to participate in tobacco auctions, he said.
The delegation took up their cause as hundreds of tobacco cultivators were worried about the fall in prices and ban on tobacco. The delegation included Tobacco Board Chairman K Gopal and Andhra MPs.
The minister responded favorably to their request that tobacco should not be banned until the farmers took up cultivation of alternative crops. Simha said tobacco cultivation would not be banned under any circumstances sacrificing the interests of growers. In order to secure fair prices, foreign buyers would be invited to make purchases by creating required facilities.
MPs from Karnataka and Andhra stated that foreign buyers would take part only from next year, Simha said.