Tobacco Farmers At Crisis

The leader of opposition and YSRCP president YS Jagan is visiting agency area of West Godavari district today. He will learn the problems of the tobacco farmers there and assure his support to them. This has flashed a light on the problems of the farmers. Under Chandrababu's rule, not only the farmers cultivating food crops but also those cultivating commercial crops are facing problems.
Farmers in Prakasam, Nellore, Guntur and West Godavari districts of AP are primarily growing tobacco. This year, it was grown in 33,163 hectares. 44,958 farmers registered themselves to grow tobacco. They all are now distressed as the Government has not given fair support price for their produce.
Here are the problems faced by them:
  1. Collection of SES: 1.25% SES is being collected from tobacco farmers on purchase. In case of growing more than permissible limits, it is between 5-10%. This will pose an affect on the farmer's income.
  2. Lack of fair price: The cost price for tobacco was Rs.175 when Chandrababu came to power but now it fell down to Rs.105. With constant resistance from opposition YSRCP and other people's organisations, it reached Rs.120 but stood still there. The farmers exclaim that this is not a fair price for them.
  3. Restrictions: Previously, one barron to 45 quintals of tobacco could be sold. Now it has been restricted to 25 quintals. This is posing limitation on the farmers who can produce more.
  4. Loan waiver: Tobacco farmers also have been deceived just like any other farmers by Chandrababu. They stopped paying interest in their loans, believing in Chandrababu's promise for loan waiver. They became defaulters in the banks and this resulted in lack of finance for their crop.
  5. Purchase of barrens: Previously, banks used to finance purchase of barrens. Lack of finance from the banks is making the farmers unable to buy barrens.
  6. Defect in standardisation of prices: Tobacco being a limited crop, it is easy to fix the price of it. It can be bought from the board during off season and later the farmers can be aided. But the Government is neglecting to take any such assistant steps.
  7. Drama of Chandrababu's Government: When the farmers are in crisis, the state Government can buy tobacco. Some of the previous Governments have done it too. There were 2 instances when former CM Dr. YS Rajasekhar Reddy did that. But Chandrababu seems to be indifferent to the idea.
  8. Prolonging of auction: It is beneficial for the farmers if auction of tobacco is started in January and stopped in June. But as it is being prolonged till October, the farmers are facing losses.

To fight against all these problems, the leader of opposition and YSRCP president YS Jagan is going to meet the farmers today and speak to them face to face.

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