The Union government is seeking to extend social security to tobacco growers by providing insurance cover to their produce. The Â government will pay 50% of the premium amount.
D Purandeswari, Union minister of state for commerce and industry, recently said state governments will have to pay 25%, while the Â farmers will have to bear the rest. Tobacco Board is ready to bear half of the farmers’ share of the premium factoring in their interest. Â “This is for the first time that we are extending insurance cover to a commercial crop. Tobacco farmers should take advantage of it,” she Â said, inaugurating an electronic auction system at the board’s Preiyapatna unit. The move is aimed at sustaining the growth of agriculture Â dependent economy.
Referring to higher yield by US tobacco growers who manage 3,000kg per hectare, she said Indian farmers should catch up since the yield here is only 1,500kg. Central Tobacco Research Institute should focus on this, she added.
The commerce ministry is looking at increasing agri exports, she said, and pointed at the export of tobacco which jumped by 27% last fiscal. India is exporting tobacco to over 100 countries, and demand for Indian tobacco has gone up, she claimed.
Responding to Mysore MP Adagooru H Vishwanath’s plea to address the problems being faced by tobacco growers, the minister said she will convene a meeting at Delhi. Vishwanath said tobacco growers help the Union government’s coffers get Rs 400 crore. “Their problems should be addressed on a priority,” he said. He accused Guntur-based Tobacco Board of favouring Andhra Pradesh farmers.