Growers oppose govt’s contract farming plan for tobacco

Tobacco farmers and farm leaders from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka such as the Virginia Tobacco Growers Association, Federation of Karnataka Virginia Tobacco Growers Association, Kondapi Tobacco Growers Association, Kaligiri FCV Tobacco Growers Association, have vehemently opposed the idea of contract farming into the tobacco sector and stated it will have adverse consequences on their livelihoods
Representative Image
Representative Image

New Delhi

The farmers also said COVID-19 has inflicted disastrous economic losses on Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) farmers and any move to bring contract farming into the tobacco sector will only further aggravate the problems of the pandemic-battered farmers who are struggling to make ends meet.
Opposing the government’s plan to introduce contract farming in the Indian tobacco sector, Gadde Seshagiri Rao, former VC, Tobacco Board stated: “Contract farming is no match to our transparent auction system which ensures fair pricing for FCV tobacco. In fact, this system has enabled even a small and marginal FCV tobacco farmer to realise a better price for their produce by making Indian FCV tobacco farmers the only set of growers in the world who have generated better returns on a year-on-year basis with very minimal fluctuations. We should evaluate the contract farming keeping in mind its long-term repercussions. We believe this is being pushed by handful players who are misguiding the policy makers for their own interest and jeopardising the interests of the larger tobacco farming community.”
FCV tobacco farmers alleged the foreign tobacco MNCs, who are seeing tepid sales in global markets and are prohibited as per Indian FDI regulations to invest in India are trying to get a backdoor entry in the country by pushing for contract farming. Citing global examples, they referred to countries like Malawi and Zimbabwe who are facing increased domestic pressure to do away with the contract farming system as the growers are left at the mercy of traders.

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