SWABI - Tobacco growers on Thursday set on fire tobacco in protest against the low price of the crop in front of a multinational company, warning that their protest would continue until exploitative tactics against them.
Hazrat Gul and Nasar Khan, the two growers set on fire their tobacco as a protest and many more were expected to follow, he said.
When contacted officers of the companies’ said that they have not harmed the growers and the price they awarded to their crop was approved by the PTB with the consensus of the grower leaders who represented the farmers in the board. They said each year the demanded quota of the crop and the price of tobacco announce in advance and the growers were told to cultivate tobacco according to the announced requirements of the buyers. In addition, they said it was also declared that both PTB and companies would not buy the surplus tobacco. They were also advised by PTB to execute agreements with the choice of their companies.
It has been learnt that the companies’ officers discussed the prevailing situation that what were possible steps they could take for defuse the tension and conduct the purchase in the friendly environment. However, they officers ruled out increase in the price and said that minimum approved price is Rs 121 per kilogramme and they have upheld it.
They said that tobacco marketing law, MLO-487 has made clear that they could never award the price low than the previous year each year. However, the growers said that the companies always indulged in degrading their crop and they reduced the price of tobacco, causing great financial loss to them.
The officials were not in position to predict that the tension between the buyers and farmers would be reduced.