Agri Business

Tobacco Board pares crop size for AP to 115 mkg

KV Kurmanath Hyderabad | Updated on August 20, 2020

Farmers say produce worth ₹300 crore would be cut this year

With Covid-19 hitting the tobacco procurement season this year, the Tobacco Board has pared the crop size in Andhra Pradesh to 115 million kg (mkg) from 135 mkg last year.

The Board has taken the decision after factoring in appeals by the Indian Tobacco Association and some small farmers. A section of farmers wanted the Board to cut the crop size after they found it difficult to sell the produce from the last season.

In order to keep the production of tobacco in control owing to health concerns, the Board fixes the crop size for Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the two main tobacco growing States. The Board would take the responsibility of conducting auctions for the produce from the earmarked barns.

While some farmers welcomed the Board’s decision to reduce the crop size, some others said the decision would hurt the interests of the farmers.

“There won’t be any reduction in cost of production per barn. The per barn cost of production would remain the same,” a farmer has said on condition of anonymity.

The production per barn is pegged at 35 quintals. “The Board’s decision won’t significantly bring down the costs. But the quantity of tobacco will come down to 29 quintals. We will lose income to that extent,” he said.

It is estimated that the difference would be about ₹300 crore.

The Federation of All India Farmers Associations had appealed to the Board early this month, asking it not to reduce the crop size. The Board, which met two days ago, had apparently taken into cognizance the mood in the market and decided to reduce the crop size.

With Covid-19 inordinately deferred auctions in the summer, the Andhra Pradesh Government ordered the Markfed, which was never into tobacco trading, to procure tobacco of about 20 mkg.

Published on August 20, 2020

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