SWABI: Growers at a meeting here on Sunday urged the federal commerce ministry to fix the price of tobacco crop for year 2023 keeping in view the current inflation so that they could cultivate the crop according to demand and execute agreements with the companies of their choice.

The meeting was chaired by Kashtkar Coordination Council central president Mohammad Azam Khan in Yar Hussain, a hub of Virginia tobacco growing. Ayaz Khan, member of Pakistan Tobacco Board, was also present on this occasion.

The farmers recalled that the tobacco growers had economically suffered in year 2022 as the companies used different tactics to exploit them and purchase the crop from them at low price.

Tobacco Growers Association Pakistan central president Liaquat Yousafzai said that the tobacco companies had not yet announced their quota for the upcoming year and the federal ministry had also not yet determined the price, which was creating unrest among the growers.

Mr Azam said that the companies had been running a campaign in various tobacco growing regions and luring the farmers to grow more tobacco in violation of the relevant marketing law, MLO-487.

Ittehad Kashtkaran Pakistan president Arif Khan said that recently the companies had purchased tobacco from farmers at Rs245 per kg while the crop procured by big traders was bought at higher price.

Members of the Kisan Board said that if appropriate price of tobacco was not announced in October according to the law, the farmers would start cultivating wheat instead. They also demanded genuine representation of the growers in PTB to boost their position.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2022

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