December 13, 2012
AMJAD ALI SHAH
Growers of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have out-rightly rejected the new prices of Virginia tobacco fixed by Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) for next season at Rs 141/kg, and warned that the agitation movement against unfair prices would further intensify in the province.
“We had demanded of the board and multi-national companies to fix tobacco prices proposed by the committee of ministry of national food security and research with minimum Rs 250 per/kg, but the board again fixed prices very low against the cost of production, said Liaqat Yousafzai, General Secretary Kashtkar Co-ordination Council while talking to this scribe. Once again, the growers’ leader said that the board and multi-national companies had fixed prices without consultation and consent of growers, which was unacceptable to them.
“We strongly reject the new tobacco prices fixed at Rs 141 per/kg. We have already launched a movement to urge the government to review the prices against it, Mr Yousafzai vowed. He alleged that representatives of multi-national companies and members of the tobacco board always fixed the price of the crop without the consultation and consent of the growers.
“We don’t accept the monopoly of multi-national tobacco manufacturing and producing companies. We will not tolerate exploitation and economic genocide of poor tobacco growers,” Mohammad Khan, a grower leader said. Mr Khan alleged that representatives of multi-national companies and members of the tobacco board always fixed the price of the crop without consultation and consent of the growers. He stated that after conducting a detailed survey in the tobacco producing areas of the province, the committee had recommended Rs 183 per kilogram as the support price of tobacco because Rs 159.5 was the production cost of the crop.
“The government was yet to declare tobacco as a crop despite collecting revenue of Rs 140 billion annually,” the grower leader said. He said that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had also generated Rs 17 billion yearly in the head of taxes imposed on tobacco. Instead of giving subsidy and money generated by cess on tobacco producing areas, the government was not even providing fair prices to growers, he said. He further said that the provincial government received a share of Rs 60 million of the total revenue from the centre.
The grower’s leaders demanded review of the decision and fixing prices as proposed by a committee of the ministry of the national food security and research, which could be a minimum fixed at Rs 250 per//kg. They also condemned the arrest of growers during a peaceful protest demonstration in front of the PTB office, and warned that the authority should abstain from such anti-growers attitude and provide legitimate prices to them.
Meanwhile, the Pakistan Tobacco Board issued a notification regarding new tobacco support prices according to which the prices of Virginia tobacco for the coming season had been fixed in its 139th meeting held here at his provincial head office.
It was further said that the meeting endorsed the findings of the Special Committee on the Cost of Production, and the prices Grad Revision Committee with regard to the Minimum Indicative Prices (MIP) for the tobacco crop next season 2013. As per new prices, the notification said that the prices of Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco had been fixed at Rs 141 per/kg against the price of Rs 121 per/kg in the current season. While, the White Patta (WP), was fixed at Rs 65/kg against the preceding season of Rs 58/per Kg.
Similarly, the prices of Burley tobacco had been fixed at Rs 117 per/kg against the Rs 107 per/kg in the preceding season, while the Dark Air Cured (DAC) prices had been fixed at Rs 57 per/kg against the previous season rate of Rs 51 per/kg. It was also mentioned in the PTB notification that separate MIP of Rs 153.26 per/kg for sub-mountainous areas was approved by the Board in accordance with Section 8(1) of the PTB Ordinance 1968.