The government’s intention of reducing tobacco consumption in the country should not hit growers who should be helped with alternative cash crops that are just as remunerative, the Federation of All-India Farmers’ Association (FAIFA) engaged in cultivation of cash crops said on Thursday
Referring to the government directive to tobacco farmers in Andhra Pradesh to cut cultivation by 52 million kg next year, FAIFA members said that there should be a policy to provide sustainable alternatives for tobacco growers in the transition period.
All stakeholders should be consulted before framing a “well-balanced’’ tobacco control policy, the FAIFA members said adding that steps should be taken to check alleged smuggling on imported cigarettes. Stating that a sudden call for cutting production will be difficult to absorb, the FAIFA said that the government should identify alternative, equally remunerative sustainable cash crops for tobacco growers and take care of new skill requirement for smooth transition to such alternatives. The farmers’ body bemoaned high taxation on tobacco and smuggling of cigarettes.