Tobacco Board Chairman K. Gopal on Tuesday exhorted the farmers to go for alternative crops in at least part of their land holdings in view of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)’s determination to discourage its cultivation over a period.
Inaugurating a two-day workshop for farmers on ‘Sustainable Agricultural Practices’ organised by the tobacco major ITC, he said the global map of tobacco regions might witness significant change in the next 10 to 20 years.
Tobacco growers in their own interest should go for crop rotation by switching over to alternative crops in 30 per cent of their land holdings to restore the soil health and thus improve productivity in the process, to stay competitive.
He said ensuring remunerative price for the tobacco growers posed a challenge to the Board in the present global scenario. He wanted the ryots to go for cost cutting and adopt best agronomic practices to produce tobacco free of pesticide residue and Non-Tobacco Related Material (NTRM) insisted upon by international buyers.
Farmers could save up to 30 per cent of curing cost by constructing energy-efficient barns with proper insulation and by going for captive social forestry plantations, he added.
Expressing satisfaction over the Board’s efforts to restrict the annual tobacco production to less than 300 million kg in the country, he said tobacco production of about 250 million kg would be enough to meet the demand of domestic manufacturers and overseas buyers.