Tobacco auctions begin in Prakasam

By TheHindu on 14 Nov 2016 | read
A quantity of 26,582.5 kg was sold at an average price of Rs. 141.01 a kg

Amid hopes for a better market this year, e-auctioning of tobacco, the principal crop of drought-prone Prakasam district, began on an encouraging note in Southern Black Soil (SBS) auction platforms on Friday.

Manufacturers, exporters and dealers competed with each other to purchase 200 bales offered by the farmers. A quantity of 26,582.5 kg of tobacco was sold at an average price of Rs. 141.01 a kg.

Nine buyers

The auctions witnessed a high price of Rs. 146 per kg for bright grade and a low price of Rs. 135 per kg on the inaugural day with nine buyers turning up at the auctions, explained SBS Regional Manager G. Bhaskar Reddy.

Jump of Rs. 20 a kg

There was a jump of Rs. 20 per kg when compared to price that prevailed on the inaugural day last year. The market price would pick up as exporters firm up orders from overseas buyers in the coming weeks, Board sources said.

The grade out-turn was very good this year with bright grade accounting for 50 to 60 per cent of the produce, medium grade 30 per cent and low grade the rest.

Meanwhile, Virginia former Tobacco Board member M. Bangarababu urged Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman to ensure bilateral agreements with tobacco importing countries at the government-level for the farmers to avoid recurrence of farmer suicides witnessed last year.

‘Find lucrative

export markets’

“We have stuck to the crop size fixed by the Board. Now it is the Union government’s responsibility to find lucrative export markets for our quality produce,” he said.

Given the increase in cost of cultivation, the Tobacco Board should ensure an average price of Rs. 150 to Rs. 160 per kg to the farmers, said Virginia Tobacco Growers Welfare Association president Ch. Seshaiah.

According to reports, there was a fall in global production to the tune of 330 million kg when compared to last year. The production was less than the crop size in Karnataka also. In this situation, the farmers should not part with their produce at a lesser price, said another former Tobacco Board member Ch. Ranga Rao.

‘Allow foreign players’

The farmers urged the Centre to allow foreign players to take part in the auctions so that India, presently looked at as an opportunity market by global players, became a definite market.

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