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Significance of Tobacco cultivation in Pakistan.

PESHAWAR -- Prior to 1968, tobacco was cultivated in Pakistan, but its importance in the agriculture sector was insignificant due to inferior quality, low yield and inadequate return. The tobacco industry was then dependent on imported raw material on which a huge amount of foreign exchange was spent every year. In 1968 the Government of Pakistan decided to promote, in a planned manner, the cultivation, manufacture and export of Tobacco and tobacco products for achieving economic and financial stability of the country. For this purpose Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) was established in February, 1968.

Through its intensive follow-up of assigned functions, the PTB has brought revolutionary changes in tobacco cultivation, by way of increasing yield per acre, improving quality and enhancing exports of tobacco. As a result Tobacco crop has secured a prominent place in the economy of the country. The growers have attained a high degree of proficiency in producing all types of Tobacco.

Total irrigated area in Pakistan is 1804000 hectares while total irrigated area under tobacco is 49400 hectares or 0.27%.

District wise area and Production of Cigarette Type Tobacco in KPK 2013 crop.

In the year 2012-13 Pakistan Tobacco Board realized 85 million Rupees as tobacco cess, while Export value was 3559.20 million rupees, and an amount of Rs 65.45 billion were realized on Federal Excise duty from the Cigarettes manufacturer.

Non recommended varieties Swati, Spindindi, Alisheri and Kilabotay etc are being cultivated for the last few years and there was significant increase since 2010 on words. The negative effects of NRVs are as given below:

(i) The persons working in NRV field usually suffer from headache, vomiting and Nausea. The midrib of NRV is woody, thick hence the outputs of cigarettes of NRVs are lower as compared to RV

i.e if one kg of RV give 1000 cigarettes, then the NRV will give 800 cigarettes.

Furthermore, the fuel wood consumption would be higher for curing this woody midrib of NRV and the cost of production will be increased.

(ii) Non Recommended Varieties not only adversely affect the domestic business, but exports too. Thus cultivation of NRV is earning a bad name for the country due to its chemical composition being below the standard requirements. The reducing sugar being lower than 8.0% and nicotine contents above 3.5% are not fit for smoking. Such varieties tarnish the brand and quality of cigarettes. The cigarettes manufacturers, therefore avoid using such varieties.

Due to the situation highlighted in the above table the PTB continued its efforts to bring an end to the cultivation of NRVs of tobacco.

PTB has also introduced substitute hybrid seeds of tobacco i.e. PVH 2310, PVH 90 and PVH-50 etc for NRVs tobacco like Swati, Spindandi, Alishery and Kilabotay etc.

These hybrid varieties have the following characteristics.

High yield as compared to NRV. Early maturing. Good curing results. Midrib is not thick. Fire wood consumption is comparatively lower than NRV. Better chemical composition.

Whereas the growers want to maximize returns, minimize expenses and work load, the manufacturers are interested in their brand image and blenders requirements. The leaf/smoke quality should, thus match the consumer's requirements. High nicotine and low reducing sugar in the NRVs blight the flavor of the cigarette and the blender suffer losses due to rejection by the smoker.

Hectic efforts have made by PTB during the past few years to prevent cultivation of NRV's with a view to save the interests of all stake holders and protect exports.

In order to discourage farmers from growing Non- Recommended Varieties (NRV) of tobacco, the PTB started a comprehensive awareness campaign in December, 2013 against the NRVs. The campaign which is still in progress inter-alia included organizing field days by the PTB in the tobacco glowering areas like Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda etc where the experts of PTB delivered lectures and organized discussion with the growers impressing upon them to desist from cultivating NRVs.

During this exercises different stack holders including farmers and tobacco companies were taken on Board. Similarly in October & November 2013, extensive exercise was carried out by the PTB to determine the Cost of Production of tobacco in close collaboration with different farmers associations like Anjuman- i- Kashtkaran, Kissan Board, etc. On the basis of this exercise the minimum indicative price (MIP) of different types of tobacco like Flue Cured Virginia (FCV), Burley, Rustica etc were fixed. The rate of the best quality of tobacco i.e FCV was Rs. 159/- kg which was Rs. 147/-kg last year.

A few days back an article appeared in an English daily wherein certain farmers associations had objected to the fixation of cost of production of tobacco. This impression was not correct, because the representatives of the same organization ware duly associated in the entire exercise and the cost of production was fixed after consensus of all stake holders.
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Publication:Frontier Post (Peshawar, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9PAKI
Date:Feb 23, 2014
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