Tobacco growers faced millions of rupees loss due to delay in purchase of the crop, as usual they were exploited by the middle man, who bought the produce at Rs 110-115 per kg. Haji Nemat Shah, Senior Vice-President Anjuman-e Kashtkaran, KPK said while talking to Business Recorder that the purchase of tobacco directly by Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) would indeed prove to be highly beneficial for the poor tobacco cultivators.
“Mostly the tobacco growers belong to poor segment of the society who can not afford even the minor loss to their crop due to already high cost of production followed by sky-rocketing prices of inputs. Swabi is the center of tobacco cultivation and the buying of the tobacco crop usually starts in the first week of July. But due to the political influence of some big landlords, the small farmers were forced to stop selling their crop that made them bear loss of millions of rupees as the crop can not be stored for a long time,” Shah said.
“The small farmers were forced to sell their crops to the middleman at the price of their choice in spite of the support price of Rs 117/kg fixed by the government,” he added. He said that thousands of people were affiliated with the tobacco cultivation and the attempt of big landlords having strong political connections deprive the small farmers of the benefits of their hard work and labour.