Tobacco growers though lost crop due to heavy rain, have reason to smile due high price

Mysuru, Oct 21 (UNI) Though tobaco growers lost crop due to heavy rain, has every reason to smile due to heavy demand and increase in the price as the auction season began in this region.

The average price during the first eight days of auction, which began last month, went up from Rs 147 per kg last year to Rs 152 per kg this year.

The increase in the demand and the price across the 11 auction platforms in the State comes just ahead of the start of the eighth session of conference of parties to the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Geneva in October to discuss, among other things, economically sustainable alternatives to tobacco cultivation.

The increase in price has helped the growers, many of whom lost a portion of their crop to the heavy rain earlier this year. Against an anticipated yield of 10.5 crore kg, Tobacco Board officials said they were expecting 9 crore kg this year. Last year 10.6 crore kg of tobacco was harvested against a crop size of 9.9 crore kg, fetching the growers an all-time highest price of Rs 139.4 a kg.

The officials predicted that the average price of tobacco this year could surpass even last year’s record price.

However, Javare Gowda, President, Federation of VFC Tobacco Growers’ of Karnataka, said it was too early to predict on the price while the auction season was progressing.

He hoped the board would appeal to traders to come to the aid of the growers by offering a better price in view of the loss they had suffered. Close to 80 per cent of the tobacco grown in Mysuru region commands international demand in view of the superior blending quality.

The farmers earned roughly Rs 1,400 crore for the 106 million kg of tobacco sold through auction platforms last year. About 80 per cent grown in Mysuru region was exported to different countries in view of its superior blending quality and other features.

The Executive Director of Tobacco Board K Sunitha visited several tobacco auction platforms in Mysuru recently and interacted with growers in the region.

The growers not only sought amenities at various auction platforms, but also the Board’s intervention to ensure that the prices of tobacco are remunerative for them.