SWABI: Tobacco purchasing companies are expected to increase their quotas for the next crop, sources in the multinational firms said on Monday.

Sources in the companies told Dawn that the buyers were expected to announce their increased quota soon through the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), the tobacco sector’s regulator.

“International purchasers plan to pick tobacco from Pakistani market as it is cheaper than elsewhere,” said the sources.

They said agents of purchasing companies from European countries were holding meetings with the growers in the district.

“My company has increased its purchasing quota,” said the sources, quoting leaf manager of a multinational company.

Price of fine grade tobacco, which was available at Rs150 per kilogramme during the June-August purchasing season, has jumped to Rs550 per kilogramme, the sources said, adding last year in November about 2.5 million kg tobacco was available in the market, but traders have no stock this year.

“We are visiting farmers to pursue them to grow more tobacco,” said the sources while quoting an official of a leading company.

Farmers said leaf managers and officials of multinational and national firms had been visiting them for last two months, asking them to grow more tobacco. Tobacco nurseries are expected to start in next two to three weeks.

Liaqat Yousafzai, central president of Tobacco Growers Association Pakistan, said the federal commerce ministry should announce the price of crop as soon as possible. He also demanded removing the Rs393 tax imposed on per kg tobacco.

Khalid Khan, district president of Kisan Board, said increase in tobacco quota is always welcomed by growers because it was a cash crop, and farmers expected to get good returns to make up for expenditures and run households.

Saeed Sher, a grower in Arif Khan village, said officials of a multinational company had struck an agreement with him a week ago to purchase his produce.

KIDNAPPER HELD: The police on Monday arrested an alleged kidnapper and recovered a man from his captivity.

SHO Swabi city police station Altaf Khan said a complainant, Abu Bakr of Baja village, had filed a report on Sunday, saying Khalid Zaman along with two other accomplices of Qadara village had kidnapped his brother, Umar Farooq, at gunpoint over a money dispute.

He said a police party led by DSP Swabi Farooq Zaman arrested the alleged kidnapper during a raid.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2022

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