• April 24, 2024

Farmers seek protection

 Farmers seek protection

The Indonesian Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI) has urged the government to control leaf-tobacco imports so as to protect local farmers, according to a story in The Jakarta Post.

During a meeting between APTI members from nine provinces and President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo yesterday, the farmer representatives called on the president to allow cigarette companies to import tobacco only if they had absorbed the tobacco produced by local farmers.

“If a company buys a small amount of local tobacco, it has to get only a small import quota,” APTI chairman Agus Parmuji said after the meeting. “If a company buys a large amount of local tobacco, the government can give a larger quota. But it should be no more than 20 percent of its total consumption.”

According to APTI data, leaf imports stood at about 28,000 tons in 2003, but they rose to 90,000 tons in 2010 and to 150,000 tons in 2012, which was about 72.5 percent of local consumption.

The increase in imported tobacco had resulted in a lower absorption of local tobacco and a decline in prices, Agus said.

Local tobacco production had reached 247,000 tons annually with prices varying from Rp45,000 (US$3.31) per kg to Rp350,000 per kg, depending on the quality.

Agriculture Minister Andi Amran Sulaiman said that he would discuss the matter with the Trade Minister Enggartiasto Lukita.

“Actually, we talked to cigarette companies last month and they agreed to buy local tobacco at [a] good … price,” he said.