Tobacco crop will be purchased by traders
Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today assured tobacco farmers that their entire crop will be purchased by traders by the end of the month.
She made the statement after visiting Prakasam district personally to assess the tobacco purchase situation, after three farmers committed suicide due to low prices since traders were unwilling to purchase low quality tobacco. She held a discussion with Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu in the evening to find a solution on distressed tobacco sale in the state.
Later, both Sitharaman and the chief minister addressed the media jointly. Sitharaman said that out of the total permitted tobacco production of 172 million kg, traders had purchased 143.72 million kg, while the remaining 28.22 million kg have been treated as low grade tobacco.
She said that traders had offered a low prices of Rs 30 to Rs 35 per kg for low grade tobacco. She said that farmers had produced another 21 million kg without any permission from the Tobacco Board. Traders have agreed to purchase both low grade as well as unauthorised tobacco, she said.
The Tobacco Board would pay Rs 15 per kg in addition to the price offered by the traders and the AP state government has agreed to pay another Rs 5 per kg of tobacco, she said. Totally, Rs 20 would be paid by both the Tobacco Board and the AP government to protect the interests of tobacco farmers, she said.