Deputy Director-General (Crop Science) of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Swapan Kumar Datta, has said that the Centre should guide the Tobacco Board in taking steps to phase out tobacco cultivation from the country by 2020.
He was inaugurating a national seminar on ‘Alternative Crops to Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) Tobacco in Karnataka' here on Monday.
An alternative crop model had to be worked out by the Government and the board to suit the climatic conditions of each area, Prof. Datta said. The tobacco leaves could be used as a pharmaceutical compound, he noted.
The onus of phasing out tobacco cultivation lay on the Government.
It should ensure that farmers switched over to the suggested crops and did not suffer losses in the process, Prof. Datta said. The next two years would be crucial for tobacco growers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, two major tobacco-growing States, he said. C.V. Subba Rao, Executive Director, Tobacco Board, said seminars were being held in various parts where tobacco cultivation was taking place to enlighten the FCV growers on the need to switch over to viable alternative crops.
It was necessary to phase out tobacco growing in the country by 2020 as per WHO stipulations to make the country tobacco-free. Growers must be told not to panic as the need to shift to other crops gradually. First, the unauthorised cultivation must be controlled, Mr. Rao stated. The board was preparing strategies for suitable alternative crop patterns. Growers ought to cooperate with it, he said.H.C. Shivanna, vice-chairman, Tobacco Board, urged the Centre to think of providing adequate compensation to growers willing to give up tobacco cultivation.
- Seminars being held in various parts of the country
- ‘Alternative crop patterns required'