FAIFA Appeals for Rescue Package for Tobacco Farmers as Crop worth ₹4400 crores lies Unsold

The organization appealed to the Government to sanction a compensation of Rs 25,000 to each registered tobacco grower for their survival and re-schedulement of crop loans.

Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), a non-profit organization representing the cause of millions of farmers and farm workers of commercial crops across the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat etc. has appealed to the Government of India to save their livelihoods in the present pandemic as the demand for the crop has weakened due to declining volumes of cigarettes and other tobacco products as a result of prolonged lockdowns.

FCV tobacco farming community is undergoing severe stress to sell their harvest and also to cope up with mounting labor and infrastructure charges due to interruption to auctions due to the lockdown. Nearly 130 Million Kgs of Flue Cured Tobacco worth over Rs. 1700 crores is waiting to be sold causing quality loss under prolonged storage.

The Gujarat famers, whose tobacco produce is used in the making of bidi’s and other tobacco products are also struggling for their livelihoods. More than 330 million kgs of tobacco worth Rs 2700 crore is lying in the open fields as the traders are not ready to pick-up the produce because government has banned the sale of tobacco products. The rains are expected in coming days and if the government will not start the sale of tobacco products both traders and farmers will go bankrupt.

The farmers have also appealed for reducing taxation on cigarettes to pre-GST levels so that demand can be restored for the domestic legal cigarette industry which is already reeling under penal taxation on account of continuous increases in excise duties and compensation cess. Adding to the existing woes of tobacco farmers, the Indian Government has also removed tobacco export incentives, making India a less competitor in the Global market.

More than 95% crop is waiting in barns to be sold and FCV tobacco farming community of Andhra Pradesh is estimating a loss is excess of Rs 200 crores because of quality deterioration and weight loss.

Mr. Javare Gowda, President, Federation of All India Farmer Associations (FAIFA), said, “We request the government to immediately start the auctions in all the Tobacco Auction platforms. The Government should also direct the Tobacco Board and other concerned officials to coordinate with FCV Tobacco Manufacturers, exporters and traders to facilitate reasonable prices (Pre-Covid market prices) for FCV tobacco produce at the auctions in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.”

“As FCV tobacco farmers’ are undergoing severe financial crisis, we request the Government of India to immediately sanction a compensation amount of Rs 25,000 each to all registered FCV tobacco growers for their very survival.”

FAIFA has also demanded for a comprehensive FCV Tobacco Production plan for 2020-21.  Tobacco Board should make more efforts to promote Indian exports studying opportunities arising out of COVID 19. Based on the current International trends, it is essential to be prepared with an action plan for the next season by assessing domestic/export market trends considering actual Traders indents.

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