Farmers oppose proposed contract farming in tobacco cultivation

As contract farming is a key feature in the new farm laws, the tobacco growers fear that the government will strongly support and introduce it in the FCV cultivation soon. 

Published: 08th November 2021 07:29 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th November 2021 07:29 AM   |  A+A-

Cultivation of flue-cured tobacco. (File Phtoto)

Express News Service

ONGOLE: Farmers of Prakasam and Nellore districts are opposing the proposal of introducing contract farming system in the cultivation of flue-cured tobacco, also called Virginia or FCV tobacco.Farmers’ representatives have also appealed to the Union Ministry of Commerce to enhance tobacco exports by 20-25 per cent by allowing the growers to take up cultivation in more extent of land.

In a recent meeting, Prakasam-Nellore Districts’ Tobacco Growers Association passed unanimous resolutions opposing the proposal for introduction of the contract farming system. “The Union ministry recently discussed the proposal to introduce contract farming in FCV tobacco cultivation to pave the way for a multi-national company (MNC) to enter the market,” the farmers claimed.

As contract farming is a key feature in the new farm laws, the tobacco growers fear that the government will strongly support and introduce it in the FCV cultivation soon. The tobacco farmers generally use traditional methods in the cultivation, which result in comparatively low yield. This reflects on the annual tobacco exports volume. The volume of tobacco exports have been decreasing steadily for the last few years even as the Union ministry is eyeing on 30-32 per cent growth in the exports. 

According to reports, the ministry officials have suggested that contract farming in FCV tobacco cultivation is the best option to achieve the target. However, the board said the contract farming was discussed only as an option. “The introduction of contract farming in tobacco sector was discussed by the ministry officials only as an option. There are no orders or directions regarding it from the Union government so far,’’ Addanki Sridhar Babu, executive director (ED) of Tobacco Board, told TNIE.

Meanwhile, the growers are still apprehensive over the measures that the Union government may take. “We fear that the Centre may introduce contract farming in the FCV tobacco cultivation to increase the exports by 30-35 per cent. If so, then the growers will have to shut shop one day as the farming will be taken over by private firms,” V V Prasad and Badri Reddy, association representatives, said.

Penalty halved 
In a reprieve to farmers, the Centre has authorised tobacco boards to allow the sale of excess FCV tobacco crop produced by the registered growers, and also by the unregistered growers during the auctions for the crop season 2021-22 in Karnataka and AP. The government has also issued orders reducing the penalty on the sale of excess produce to 5% from 10%


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