With tobacco farmers reporting heavy losses from the Mandous cyclone that wreaked havoc in some coastal districts of Andhra Pradesh in 2022, Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy has asked Union Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs, to bail the farmers out of the crisis.

He asked the Union Minister to allow the sale of ‘excess FCV (flue-cured Virginia) tobacco produced by the registered growers and unauthorised FCV tobacco produced by unregistered growers without imposing any penalty during the 2022-23 season.

Second sowing

“Tobacco crop in about 53,000 hectares was severely damaged in the districts of Prakasam, Nellore, Bapatla, Palnadu, and Guntur district during the cyclone. Since there was no viable alternative they had to go in for second sowing of tobacco. They had to spend on irrigating the fields in order to protect the crop. This has resulted in an increase in the cost of production,” he said.

The Tobacco Board, which works under the Commerce Ministry, regulates the crop area by allotting area for each of the registered growers. The farmers are supposed to pay penalties on excess production, if any.

“Since they spent heavily last year, they are not in a position to pay penalties. I request you not to levy any penalty on the farmers and facilitate the sale of their produce from the 2022-23 season,” the Chief Minister said in the letter.

He cited a similar gesture extended to the tobacco farmers in Karnataka recently where the government relaxed norms to allow the sale of excess FCV tobacco of the registered growers and unauthorised FCV tobacco crop of the unregistered growers at the auction platforms authorised by the Tobacco Board.