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Farmers’ organisation meets CM seeking higher price for tobacco

A delegation of farmers met Chief Minister B.S. Yeddiyurappa here on Wednesday and urged him to ensure that tobacco farmers received a remunerative price for their produce.

The farmers led by Badagalapura Nagendra of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene told Mr. Yediyurappa that tobacco was not fetching them the amount they had spent on its cultivation.

The farmers, in a memorandum submitted to the Chief Minister, said they incurred an expenditure of about ₹125 to 130 on cultivation of each kg of tobacco. But, they had received an average of just ₹125 per kg during the auctions held last year.

Though the farmers were in favour of declaring a crop holiday this year, the people’s representatives said they would stand by the farmers and encouraged them to cultivate the crop, the farmers said in a memorandum to the Chief Minister.

The Tobacco Board, which had initially fixed the crop size at 99 million kg, brought it down to 88 million kg. Now, the crop yield is expected to be more than 95 million kg. So, far about 21 million kg or 25 per cent of the crop had already been auctioned at the platforms.

For the remaining 75 per cent of the crop, the Chief Minister should intervene and ensure that the farmers, whose cost of cultivation was increasing year after year, received a remunerative price. The farmers have sought ₹225 per kg for high grade tobacco and ₹125 per kg for low grade tobacco and an average price of ₹175 per kg.

The farmers have urged the Chief Minister to use his good offices to convince the traders to buy medium and low grade tobacco also.

The farmers have sought to draw the Chief Minister’s attention to the reported purchase of 35 per cent of the tobacco produce in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh by its State government and urged the Karnataka government to also intervene in the market to ensure a remunerative price to the tobacco farmers. A demand was also made to take steps against sale of smuggled cigarettes.

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