Pakistan gets place in tobacco exporting countries

PESHAWAR (APP) - Pakistan during financial year 2008-09 had earned US$ 11.3 million from the export of tobacco and cigarettes and a carved out a place in the tobacco exporting countries of the world. This was stated by Secretary, Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), Noman Bashir while talking to APP here on Saturday. He said that through its research and development efforts has succeeded in enhancing the per hectare yield from 900 kilogram to 2500 kilogram, highest in the Far Eastern countries. In the past, he said, Pakistan faced a tough competition from other competitors in the international market in terms of quality. However, he said the PTB in a bid to sustain its ability of tobacco export in international market has focused on application of balanced fertilization, deep ploughing, topping at appropriate stage -as these factors contribute a lot towards quality improvement. Simultaneously, the Tobacco Board, he said also paid attention to improving the existing barn structures by altering the top and bottom ventilators, redesigned flue-pipe setting and ventury type barn furnaces with introduction of hygrometers. PTB, the secretary said is also alive to the problem of massive deforestation required for curing of tobacco. The Board has successfully conducted many trials on alternative fuel sources including L.P.G, bagass briquettes, risk husk and furnace oil, but the main hurdle in promotion of these alternative sources of fuel was lack of consistent supply. To tackle the problem of deforestation and rising cost of fuel, the PTB, he said is taking keen interest in evolving a strategy encompassing not only the discovery of other alternatives fuel resources, but also taking care of environmental impact besides assessment of consistency in their supply. Taking into account the vast reserves of coal in Pakistan, PTB conducted a case study on coal briquettes in comparison with other available fuel sources including fuel-wood and natural gas at PTB Tobacco Research Sub-Station Mansehra last year to examine its impact in term of cost, quality, forest preservation and environment. The cost incurring on tobacco leaf curing with coal coupled with fuel-wood is more economical as compared to other sources of fuel. It also plays a vital role in forest preservation which is under tremendous pressure. and if chopping of tress continues at the present pace, fire wood in the next five years will become a scarce commodity and thus will give a fillip to pollution, warning of environment, soil erosion and sitting of water reservoirs.

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