The cultivation of non-recommended varieties (NRVs) of tobacco has become a matter of deep concern for Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), tobacco companies and exporters. According to sources in PTB, these varieties usually have low reducing sugar contents and high nicotine level blight the savour/flavours of cigarettes and the smokers avoid it, resulting in inflicting losses on the blenders.
The tobacco farmers of Swabi, Mardan and Charssada have cultivated nurseries of non-recommended varieties (NRVs) like Swati, Alishery, Spin Dandi, Kelabutai etc. Exporters also suffer losses due to rejection of their orders and the blenders are hesitant to use such varieties due to rejection by the consumers. Chemical analysis of NRVs were made by PTB during 2012 crop and it was found that all most all NRVs grown by the farmers of various areas of KP have no sufficient ‘reducing sugar level’ and ‘nicotine’ as required by the blenders for various brands of cigarettes.
PTB during last few years made hectic efforts to prevent cultivation of such NRVs and also went into signing formal written agreements amongst farmers, representatives of tobacco farmers and tobacco companies that in future no NRV is to be cultivated by the farmers and the tobacco companies were not to be compelled by the Board to lift the NRV in future. Upon such a commitment NRVs for that specific year were taken by the tobacco companies.
In the connection the PTB also constituted a committee comprising PTB’s Research Officers, representatives of tobacco companies and grower’s representative Fazal Illahi Khan to find out that why some farmers prefer cultivation of Non-Recommended-Varieties over Recommended Varieties.
After detail survey and discussion with farmers of NRVs, it was concluded that due to uniform grades, early maturity and maximum weight, the farmers prefer NRVs over RVs. After detailed study of various varieties of tobacco with association of tobacco Companies, it was decided by the committee to launch PVH 50 and PVH 2310 as most suitable alternative varieties of NRVs tobacco having all such qualities as well as required reducing sugar and nicotine levels. Various trials were conducted during 2012 in various areas of KP especially where NRVs were previously grown.
The results proved that such varieties possess all ingredients as well as fulfil demands of those farmers who prefer to cultivate NRVs. Uniform grades, early maturity even crossed the maturity period of NRVs and maximum weight were obtained during trials at the fields of various growers at Yar Hussain, Jamal Ghari, Firdous Abad, Faujoon, Shergarh.