• June 22, 2024

Farmers Rally Against Contracting Plan

 Farmers Rally Against Contracting Plan
Photo: Tobacco Reporter archive

A plan to introduce tobacco contract farming has run into fierce opposition among leaf growers in India, reports The Times of India. During a massive gathering in Guntur on the occasion World Tobacco Growers’ Day, farmers demanded that the central government abandon its proposals, saying that contracting would put growers at risk of exploitation.

“It’s going to have a disastrous effect on the livelihood of millions of growers,” predicted Gadde Seshagiri Rao, former vice president of the Tobacco Board.

Virginia tobacco farmers association president Karatam Venkata said the existing auction system works well because it provides growers with assured payment though the Tobacco Board while contract farming results in delayed payments. In contract farming, he added, farmers’ livelihoods would be at the mercy of traders.

Growers also praised the fairness and transparency of the auction system, which they said provided greater market stability than contracting. The tobacco farmers were particularly incensed that the government had made its proposal without consulting them.

Contract farming has been gaining momentum globally at the expense of auction sales as leaf traders faced with ever-stricter compliance requirements seek greater control over the production process.