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Growers worried by reduced tobacco purchasing quota

By Our Correspondent 2016-01-05
SWABI: Growers of Fluecured Virginia (FCV) and White Patta (WP) are deeply concerned at 18 million l
The purchasing season starts in June and continues till Sept.

Talking to Dawn on Monday, the growers belonging to different parts of the district, said the companies through Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) had announced to purchase about 51 million kilograms of tobacco for the current year compared to over 69 million kg, last year. They said majority of farmers were unaware of the requirements of the companies, and produced surplus crop, which went to waste.

When contacted, PTB senior official, Talawat Khan, told this correspondent that during the current year total demand was 30 million kg compared to 37.40 million kg, last year.

Similarly, the Philip Morris International Pakistan`s demand last year was 15.86 million kg compared to the current year`s 9.2 million kg, according to Ruby Gul, an official of the purchasing company. In 2010, the company purchased 35 million kg, thus reducing its quota by 76 per cent up to the current year, she said.

Liaqat Yousufzai, generalsecretary of Kashtkar Coordination Council (KCC), said of the total set quota, PTB and Philip Moris would purchase 39.2 million kg and the remaining 12 million kg would be purchased by various national companies. He said PTB and Philip Moris reduced their quota by seven million kg, this year.

Azam Khan, KCC president, recalled that in 2003, the growers set their produce on ñre in protest against the companies for fixing reduced quota.

The growers warned that the same situation could emerge if the tobacco purchasing companies didn`t increase their quota.

Like most growers, Sardar Khan of Maneri Bala is also unaware of the purchasing companies` quota.

`I cultivated the tobacco croplike the previousyears.

And if the companies don`t buy my produce, it will ruin me financially.

Zamin Khan of Pirtab village, said the growers always became victims of conspiracies hatched by the purchasing companies, pushing the farmers into poverty.

The growers said buyers and cigarette manufactures stored FCV and WP for several years as the product matured with the time, becoming more suitable for making of cigarettes. `This gives the companies leverage to Ex tobacco purchasing quota on their own terms, thus harming the interests of the poor growers,` disclosed a purchasing company official.