OMAR ABDULLAH FOR INTEGRATED POLICY TO PROTECT INTERESTS OF TOBACCO GROWERS
Date : 10 May 2001
Location : New Delhi
Shri Omar Abdullah, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, has called for an integrated policy to take care of the interests of the tobacco growers while simultaneously reflecting the health concern of the society. He was speaking on the occasion of releasing a book "Tobacco Industry in Andhra Pradesh - A Compendium". Shri Abdullah said that the studies like this would help Government with the material and recommendations to help in the formulation of the required integrated policy. Dr. P. Dayachari, Chairman, Tobacco Board and Mr. R. A. Poddar, Chairman, Tobacco Institute of India were also present on this occasion.
The Minister outlined the various measures being taken by the Government to alleviate the suffering of tobacco farmers and rejuvenate exports. Discussions are being held with Russia to explore possibilities of tobacco sales to the Russian cigarette factories and Reserve Bank of India has also permitted the exports of tobacco to Russia under debt repayment route in select cases. The Minister also suggested the creation of a price stabilisation fund, contributed and controlled by tobacco growers themselves, with appropriate managerial assistance. He appreciated the role of Central Tobacco Research Institute in developing high yielding tobacco varieties and matching production and protection technologies resulting in economic upliftment of tobacco farmer.
The study commissioned by Tobacco Board says that Andhra Pradesh, which accounts for 80% of country’s tobacco production, can aim to increase tobacco exports to above $500 million by the year 2005. Outlining the measures to boost the tobacco exports, it recommends setting up of an export promotion cell, improving infrastructure, including charter services, roads, ports etc. and extension of credit lines for tobacco export promotion. It says that the Board should introduce membership conditions to make the auction process smoother, faster and orderly; and to allow farmers to get good compensation.