Farmer's Voice

Farmers in India penalized for excedding crop size

Tobacco Board of India Chairman Koothati Gopal on July 16th rejected an appeal by tobacco growers to suspend penalties for exceeding the crop limit, noting that a fine was the only way to encourage farmers to adhere to the authorized crop size. Gopal said growers in Andhra Pradesh exceeded the crop size of 172 million kg fixed by the board and cultivated 214 million kg. Gopal also noted that the board has no plans to compensate farmers who are willing to dismantle their tobacco barns. As part of efforts to boost leaf tobacco and tobacco product exports to Rs. 70 billion (US$ 1.1 bn) in FY16, Gopal plans to lead a trade delegation to countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Egypt, Tunisia and Iran. The country's exports declined to Rs. 56.14 billion (US$ 884.6 mn) in FY15 from Rs. 60.93 billion (US$ 960 mn) in FY14, with the board attributing the decline to an increase in medium- and low-grade tobacco in this year's crop compared with last year when bright grade leaf accounted for a major portion of output (Hindu 7/17)