SWABI: Tobacco growers have said that the crop should no longer remain under the authority of federal government because it is the domain of provincial government under 18th Amendment.

They urged Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) to work for it after assuming power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. They that total demand of tobacco for the current year was 77.322 million kilograms. As compared to the previous year, the companies reduced their demand by 8.178 million kilograms, they added.

Talking to journalist during tobacco plantation here on Thursday, the growers said that both national and multinational companies failed to meet various demands made by farmers. They alleged that Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) toed the line of buyers and did not work for the rights of farmers.

Khalid Khan, the district president of Kisan Board, said that role of PTB was critical and its function was to work for the development of the crop and prevent the companies from exploitation of growers. “Its officials have played a controversial role and gave importance to their personal interest over the farmers’ interest,” he alleged.

He said that they worked for grower rights and always delivered according to their wishes. “When PTB officials and representatives of the companies remain in league how the poor farmers will survive,” he questioned.

Azizur Rehman, a leading grower of Maneri Bala village, said that if PTB and companies gave rights to growers, it would help in improving their financial position and lure more people to farming profession.

The growers said that they were always in hot water owing to flawed policies and wrong priorities of the companies, PTB and government.

Published in Dawn, February 23rd, 2024

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