SWABI: The leaders of the tobacco growers here on Friday rejected the Rs223 per kilogramme rate offered by the purchasing companies as insufficient amid rising inflation and huge costs involved in crop production and demanded increase in the rate.

Speaking at a meeting, they said the tobacco purchasing had started, which was expected to continue in all tobacco growing districts till September.

The participants said the price offered did not match with prevailing inflation and increasing expenditures incurred on crop production.

Liaquat Khan Yousafzai, chairman of Tobacco Growers Association of Pakistan, said they had planned to stop supply of crop to the purchasing centres of national and multinational companies.

The purchasing policy of the companies would push them further into financial trouble, he added.

Mohammad Azam Khan, Kasthkar Coordination Council central president, said the growers spent Rs250 per kg on cultivation and production of crop, but regrettably they were offered only Rs223 per kg.

Alam Sher Gohati, provincial president of Anjuman-i-Kashtkaran Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, said the federal government got Rs135 billion annually through central excise duty, the provincial government received cess development fund and Pakistan Tobacco Board acquired its own share through imposition of taxes, but the farmers were kept in financial crisis due to apathy of the government and companies.

Khalid Khan, district president of Kisan Board, said hailstones had extensively damaged the crop in all the tobacco cultivating districts, thus affecting the production.

In a separate development, two people, including a minor girl, were killed in different incidents on Friday.

The police said a man identified Jassid Khan was killed when his rivals opened fire on him in Kupri village of Gadoon Amazai region over a land dispute.

A minor girl died after being hit by a car in Topi city when she was crossing the road.

Published in Dawn, July 3rd, 2021

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