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MANSEHRA: Tobacco growers have threatened not to cultivate the crop in future if the purchasing companies do not fix Rs400 as price for the per kilogramme yield.

“The farmers have been suffering financial losses because of discriminatory attitude of tobacco companies which are not in the habit of increasing purchasing price and giving relief to growers in case of natural calamities. If this attitude continues then we will not grow this crop in future,” Qaisar Zaman, a leader of tobacco growers, told a news conference here on Monday.

Flanked by a group of growers from Pakhal, Baffa, Shinkiari and other parts of Mansehra district, Mr Zaman said taxes earned through tobacco production were at the disposal of local lawmakers.

“We want direct use of these taxes in Pakhal and areas where tobacco is grown,” he said.

Another farmer, Mian Anwarul Haq, said interest rates on agriculture loans obtained by farmers from banks should be paid by tobacco companies.

“Mansehra is famous for producing high quality tobacco but the companies purchase tobacco from farmers from other districts which is deplorable,” said Mr Haq.

“If our demands are not met within a week, we will quit cultivating tobacco forever,” he threatened.

Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2018