SWABI, Oct 29: A survey began here on Tuesday to determine tobacco production cost and price for the upcoming purchasing season starting from June next year.

Sources told Dawn here that officials of Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), multinational purchasing companies, agricultural department, national companies, tobacco entrepreneurs and growers were part of the survey team.

The survey would continue for a week, conducting interviews of growers in Chota Lahor, Yar Hussain, Jaganat, Firdosabad, Salim Khan and Maneri, said the sources.

They said the survey had already been completed in Charsadda, Buner, Mardan and Mansehra districts in September.

Following completion of the survey in Swabi, the sources said, a meeting of the PTB would be held

in Peshawar on November 18 also attended by officials of the federal ministry of food and national security to determine the minimum price of the tobacco crop.

The exercise of price determination was started three years ago on growers’ complaints that

they were kept in the dark about the price the companies would pay to them, often leading to clashes between the growers and the purchasers, said the sources.

The sources said that under the tobacco marketing law, the purchasing companies were bound to pay increased prices to growers every year, but they often evaded the law, exploiting the poor farmers.

They said that during the current year, minimum per kilogram price of tobacco was set at Rs141 against the growers’ demand of Rs210. They added that for the upcoming purchasing season, farmers were demanding Rs240 per kg.

Meanwhile, growers’ leaders told this correspondent that tobacco purchasing companies’ representatives always exploited them in the past, and formulated policies disregarding their interests.

They also accused the PTB of toeing policy of multinational companies which caused them great financial loss.

“The PTB has failed to play its due role, leading to our financial bankruptcy,” said Wahid Zaman of Maneri Bala.

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