SWABI: Both the national and multinational tobacco companies have reduced their purchase quota by 18 million kilogrammes for the current year, as the harvest of white patta (WP) tobacco and curing of Virginia tobacco has marked the beginning of the crop season here. However, the farmers are likely to produce much more tobacco than the companies’ demand.
Last year, the total demand of the companies was about 69 million kilogrammes and the requirement for the current year is set at about 51 million kgs, said farmers.
They said that the issue of surplus tobacco would arise again.
Harvesting WP and curing of Virginia tobacco are followed by purchasing season across the tobacco growing districts, including Swabi, Mardan, Charsadda, Buner, Mansehra and Swat.
“WP is mainly purchased by the tobacco entrepreneurs who later sell it to the traders across the country,” said Liaquat Yousafzai, general secretary of Kashthkar Coordination Council.
Majority of the growers say they always cultivate tobacco according to their own plan instead of keeping in view the companies demand. They said that this year the announcement about the requirement was delayed by PTB. “The reason was that the two multinational purchasers have slashed their demand substantially,” said an official.
Officials of the companies said that they had warned the growers in time that they would not purchase the surplus tobacco. The problems of growers have been increasing because the companies had already closed down some purchasing centres here in the district, indicating that they would reduce quota gradually.
The Philip Morris International has already closed down Yar Hussain-4 and Faujoonabad (Chota Lahor) purchasing depots, while it continues to run Yar Hussain-1, Yar Hussain-2, Anbar and Charbagh depots.
The Pakistan Tobacco Company has seven purchasing centres in the district, including Yaqubi, Yar Hussain-1 and 2, Dagai, Firdusabad-2 (Saleem Khan), Faujoonabad and Rushanpura.