SWABI: Tobacco purchasing companies have reduced their demand by 12.59 million kilogrammes for the upcoming year compared to their current year’s quota, according to sources.

Officials in the companies, however, admitted on Wednesday that the massive cut of the quota would have negative impact on the growers’ financial position, especially in Swabi where the livelihood of about 60 per cent population was linked directly or indirectly with the tobacco yield.

They said that in the current year the total demand was 49.67 million kilogrammes, but for 2019 the total requirement of the companies stood at 37.07 million kilogrammes.

The sources said that the demand for upcoming year of the flue-cured Virginia was 35.98 million kg, dark air-cured 1.08 million kg and white patta tobacco 0.14 million kg. They said that the current year’s demand for flue-cured Virginia was 47.89 million kg, dark air-cured 1.22 million kg and white patta tobacco 0.50 million kg.

Pakistan Tobacco Company (PTC), a leading multinational company, has maintained the current year’s demand of 27.5 million kg of flue-cured Virginia for the upcoming year, but another multinational company had reduced its quota from 7.87 million kg to 3.0 million kg, claimed the sources.

They said that for the current year total 53 companies had announced their quota of the crop, but for 2019 only 44 companies declared their demand through the Pakistan Tobacco Board. They said that it was not clear why the companies had slashed their demand.

The process of tobacco crop nursery growing starts in December every year and its plantation begins in January end, said the officials, adding that the purchasing season would start in June and end in September.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2018