SWABI, Feb 22: Representatives of multinational tobacco companies at a workshop here on Friday urged growers to cultivate only the recommended varieties of the crop.

The one-day workshop was held here with a large number of tobacco growers, representatives of national and multinational companies and entrepreneurs in attendance.

According to organisers, the workshop was organised to educate growers before cultivation of tobacco crop.

“Swabi is one of the main tobacco cultivating areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and both national and multinational companies have always focused on development of local growers by arranging workshops for them and visiting their fields to guide them on use of the latest technology and modern techniques for cultivating tobacco,” said Pakistan Tobacco Company deputy director (marketing) Sardar Hussain.

Mr Hussain said growers should not use tobacco varieties not recommended by the companies.

He said the companies had informed growers well in time that they had banned Ali Sheray and some other varieties.

“Last year, the banned varieties of tobacco were cultivated by growers causing problems for themselves during crop buying season. In this light, they should not opt for unrecommended varieties,” he said.

Kisan Board, Chota Lahor president Ali Sher said if growers cultivated tobacco according to the desire of the companies, they would not face any difficulty in selling their crop otherwise they could suffer huge losses.

“Tobacco is the only cash crop of the district and therefore, growers and companies should work together for bilateral development,” he said.

Pakistan Tobacco Board senior member Fazal Elahi said companies had recommended Speight-28, K-399 and some other varieties of tobacco and growers should cultivate them for better profits.

He said PTB had been striving to improve the quality of the county’s tobacco crop because it was necessary for the crop’s international marketing.

Another speaker Khurram Shahzad said tobacco companies and growers should get together for better future and the government should support both.

“If we succeed in producing best quality tobacco, its demand in international market will grow significantly, helping both companies and farmers grow,” he said.

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