VIJAYAWADA: For the first time, the State government is procuring tobacco directly from farmers to help them tide over the Covid crisis. As per the directions of Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy to procure tobacco as the farmers are not getting remunerative prices for their produce due to the delay in the auction in view of the Covid-induced lockdown, the State Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd (MARKFED) will procure tobacco bales from the farmers at the Ongole 1 and 2 purchase centres from Wednesday.
In the first phase, the MARKFED will procure tobacco from these two centres and later the stocks will be procured from all procurement centres. “We will procure F3, F4, F5, F8 and F9 grade tobacco. The price will be more than the one decided by the Tobacco Board of India,’’ Agriculture Minister K Kanna Babu said. At a recent review meeting with officials and tobacco farmers, the Chief Minister had assured to intervene in the tobacco auction to help the farmers in the State get good prices for their produce.