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95 per cent of tobacco unsold

Only 5 per cent of India’s tobacco has been auctioned, whilst in previous years around 50 per cent of tobacco had been auctioned by this time, reported The New Indian Express.

The tobacco auction in India started on February 14, but only 5 per cent was sold before the process was suspended on March 20, due to the COVID-19 threat. Tobacco farmers are requesting that the auction be resumed as soon as possible, as the quality of the tobacco may degrade if the auctions are delayed for longer.

According to the report, tobacco farmers also faced losses after the previous year’s season, when large amounts of tobacco was sold as low-grade due to quality issues. Gali Narasapanaidu, President of Tobacco Farmers Welfare Association, told The New Indian Express that farmers are worried the same will happen this year, especially the longer the lockdown goes on. Narasapanaidu stated, “The officials conducted tobacco auction only for 15 days before the lockdown. Only 10 companies participated in the auction.”

AP Rytu Sangham leader, M Vengaiah, stated, “Delay in auction will affect the price of tobacco. Price of tobacco may be reduced as there is no demand for the produce in the international market. Board officials should take steps to conduct auction by following Central guidelines.”

Source: Tobacco Journal International

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