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Tobacco growers should be given subsidy

tobacco growers
Acting Chairman of Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) Noman Bashir said that federal government was earning Rs 600 billions from the taxes collected from tobacco sector out of which Khyber Pakhtukhwa was contributing Rs. 300 million every year.Talking to media after chairing meeting with the representatives of tobacco growers and tobacco companies here on Wednesday he demanded of the federal government to provide subsidy to this sector in order to save it from decline.

”The government should give special subsidy on different products used in preparation of high quality tobacco including pesticide, urea, fertilizer, diesel etc as the cost of per hector cultivation of the crop is increasing each passing day,” Noman said.While comparing the tobacco sector in Pakistan with that in India, he said the neighbouring country was producing around 800 million kilogram of tobacco every year while Pakistan was producing an average of 80 million kilogram annually. He said the Indian government was providing fertilizers, pesticide, insecticide and urea to their tobacco growers on subsidized rates due to which the per-hector production was much more than that in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, the tobacco companies asked the growers to cultivate only recommended variety of tobacco, which could be acceptable to them otherwise, they would not purchase non-recommended variety (NRV) of tobacco for the next season.The decision was unanimously taken during the meeting at PTB office.Acting PTB chairman Noman Bashir informed that the meeting had unanimously decided that only recommended variety of tobacco, Speight G-28, K-399 and RGH 4, would be acceptable.Last year the companies had purchased a huge quantity of NRV, which was spoiled in their godowns due low quality, Noman said.He said that due to the cultivation of non-recommended variety the foreign companies had objected on the exported tobacco. About Rs. 15 million exported tobacco variety was objected by the foreign companies, Acting PTB Chairman added.He said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had also produced 99 percent Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco in the past, but the growth had immensely declined due to the cultivation of NRV.

”To learn from the past experience, the growers are informed to cultivate only recommended quality of tobacco in order to save them and the companies from huge losses,” Noman said.He informed the PTB got early maturing hybrid seed from Brazil on trial basis. If the variety, he added, would be feasible for the area, then it would be distributed among the farmers.

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