NELLORE: In a move aimed at promoting tree plantation, tobacco farmers hereafter have to plant at least 10 saplings in their agriculture fields or vacant lands to have their ‘barn licence’ renewed by the Tobacco Boards of DC Palli and Kaligiri in the district. Just planting saplings is not enough. They are supposed to nurture them by watering every day and they will be under the constant watch of officials to ensure that the plants are properly taken care of.
The Tobacco Board permits farmers to produce certain fixed quantity of tobacco, based on the indent from manufacturers and exporters, during crop fixation period in July every year. Tobacco is being produced in upland areas only in some parts of the district and farmers use sprinklers to cultivate the crop.
The barn licence allows farmers to cure tobacco leaves at a particular temperature. Curing of the tobacco leaf is a process of developing and preserving the quality, flavour and aroma of tobacco in addition to removing moisture from the leaf.
Curing is more than just drying the leaf as it helps the leaf ripen thereby improving chemical and physical structure that are necessary for high quality cured leaf. The Boards have come up with this novel idea to promote greenery. It’s mandatory for farmers to plant 10 saplings of five varieties such as tamarind, pomegranate and others in their fields or in vacant lands. When they apply for licence, officials provide them a letter authorising them to receive free saplings from nurseries at Apparao Palem in Atmakur Mandal.
Going green: Officials to inspect plants
The Board renews barn licence of farmers every year so that they can cure the leaf. The licence specifies the size of a barn a farmer can build. There are 3,135 barns under Kaligiri and DC Palli auction centres and 3,713 farmers cultivated tobacco in 7,468 hectares in 15 Mandals during the last season. There are roughly 4,000 tobacco farmers in the area and, if each one of them plants 10 saplings, they can raise as many as 40,000 trees in the next two-three years.
“Farmers have to plant saplings in their area and our field staff will visit to check the health of the plants. There are 1,749 barns under the DC Palli auction centre. Farmers are very enthusiastic about the idea of planting saplings,” said M Lakshman Rao, superintendent of the DC Palli auction centre. “It is a good move from the Tobacco Board to promote greenery,” said K Seshagiri Rao, a farmer from Kaligiri Mandal.
Barn licence for curing tobacco
Barn licence allows farmers to cure tobacco at a particular temperature. Curing of the tobacco leaf is a process of developing and preserving the quality, flavour and aroma of tobacco in addition to removing moisture from leaf.