SWABI: Companies on Wednesday started buying the cured tobacco as growers complained the prices offered to them were lower than fixed by the provincial agriculture department in February this year.

The companies have set a target of purchasing 77.322 million kilogrammes this year, firms’ officials and growers said.

A total of 84 multinational and national companies have announced their quota through Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB).

However, growers complained the middlemen acting as agents of the companies purchased tobacco from them at throwaway rates. They also complained these agents usually delayed payments to them for months.

Liaqat Yousafzai, central general secretary of Kashtkar Coordination Council, told Dawn that according to tobacco marketing law (MLO-487), the companies would pay more this year than the price at which they bought FCV and other kinds of tobacco in 2023.

He said the provincial agriculture department had fixed the FCV weighted average price in plain area at Rs909.47 per kg and sub-mountainous area at Rs919.67 per kg, Dark Air-Cured Rs323.36 per kg, Burley Rs463.77 per kg and Sun-Cured Virginia at Rs315.43 per kg.

The growers said on the first day of purchasing season, the companies offered them Rs708 per kg for FCV against its rate of Rs909.47 per kg.

Wajid Khan, a grower from Maneri Bala region, said the companies always dodged them, using different tactics like downgrading their produce.

Published in Dawn, July 4th, 2024

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