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Tobacco growers to press for crop holiday

Staff Reporter


Traders have hardly lifted 50 million kg of tobacco: Rythu Sangam leader

‘They have not kept their promise of providing remunerative price'


ONGOLE: Concerned over continuing fall in the price offered by buyers even after a meeting with Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy last week, a section of growers in Prakasam district have launched a signature campaign to press for announcement of crop holiday by the Tobacco Board during the coming cropping season.

“We are fed up with the attitude of manufacturers and exporters who have been cutting the purchase price further by Rs 20 even for bright grade which fetched over Rs 100 per kg before the Chief Minister's intervention'', Vellampalli II auction platform farmers leader B Seetaiah said.

Ahead of the meeting with Tobacco Board Chairman G Kamalavardhana Rao on Wednesday, he said “We have raised seedlings thrice. Productivity has also been hit this year due to unseasonal rains. We feel that we cannot continue to incur losses year after year and they joined me in signing memorandum to press for declaration of crop holiday by the Board. I will moot the crop holiday proposal during tomorrow's meeting''.

Crop switch

Yellampalli I platform farmers' leader M Anjaiah said, “we feel that taking to streets to press for a fair price is futile. It is better to switch to other crops instead of growing tobacco''

Recalling the landmark decision taken by the Tobacco Board in 2000-01, TDP farmers wing Prakasam district president K Venkaiah while visiting the Ongole I platform said “it has become a habit for buyers to present a rosy picture at the time of raising seedlings and claim that there are no buyers at the stage of marketing.'. CPI(M)-led Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangam district secretary N Ranga Rao said “traders have hardly lifted 50 million kg of tobacco since commencement of auctions in February last week.”

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