Growers reject tobacco price, demand subsidy

Tobacco Field

Pakistan Tobacco Board has decided to fix the price of tobacco at Rs117 per kilogram, but the growers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have denied this decision.

The growers required the government to establish the price of tobacco at Rs183.4 per kilogram as a committee of ministry of national food security and research recommended.

Tobacco Field

A field with tobacco plant

Arif Khan, Kashtkar Coordination Council Swabi district chairman, said during media conference at Peshawar on June 27 that proposed the price of tobacco was proposed by the committee in accordance with the production cost of the tobacco.

He told that after leading a detailed investigation in the tobacco producing zones of the province, the committee proposed Rs183 per kilogram as backing price of tobacco because Rs159.5 was production cost of the tobacco. A notice was also made in that regard, he added.

Mr Khan said that in the course of a meeting at ministry of commerce on 18 June, 2012, the multi-national tobacco producing companies expressed their rejection about the acceptance of backing price.

Mr Khan induced the federal and provincial governments to perform the proposal of survey committee to help the poor tobacco growers.

Flanked by Kashtkar Coordination Council president Mohammad Azam, general secretary Liaquat Yousafzai, joint secretary Nasir Khan and information secretary Khan Mohammad, he said that tobacco was a source for profit of the province.

The leader of growers said that tobacco is a source of Rs140 billion income each year. He said that the government obtained Rs17 billion annually in the shape of imposed tobacco taxes. As well, he said, the government of the province got a share of Rs60 million of the total income from the centre.

Mr Khan required Rs3 billion subsidy for the tobacco manufacturing districts. He said that the income received through tobacco tax should be spent on infrastructure improvement of those districts.

Arif Khan said that they go against the monopoly of multi-national companies of tobacco manufacturing. He added that they will not suffer exploitation and economic genocide of poor tobacco growers.

Mr Khan stated that multi-national companies’ representatives and tobacco board members always have not consult and take counsel with growers to establish price of the crop.

He said that in the previous season, the tobacco board had established the price of the crop at Rs117 per kilogram. The farmers as well refused that decision.

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