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Centre announces relief for Flue-Cured Virginia tobacco growers after damage due to rain

New Delhi: The Government of India has announced measures to provide relief and support to Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, addressing challenges stemming from recent natural disasters and adverse climatic conditions.
According to a release by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in Andhra Pradesh, where the ongoing crop season has been marred by the aftermath of the MICHAUNG cyclone, FCV tobacco cultivation has suffered extensive damage due to heavy rains.
The cyclone, which struck between December 3-5, 2023, wreaked havoc across several districts, including Eluru, East Godavari, Kakinada, Prakasam, Nellore, Bapatla, Palnadu, and Guntur.
Approximately 20 per cent of the total planted area, covering 14,730 hectares, has been adversely affected, resulting in significant losses such as crop washing out, drowning, waterlogging, and wilting, read the press release.
Responding to the challenges faced by FCV tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh, the Government of India has approved an interest-free loan of Rs 10,000 from the Grower Welfare Fund of the Tobacco Board.
This one-time assistance aims to provide immediate relief to grower members affected by the cyclone, helping them recover from the losses incurred during the current crop season.
The loan, specific to the Andhra Pradesh crop season 2023-24, will be recovered from the auction sale proceeds of the current crop season, read the press release.
Meanwhile, in Karnataka, where FCV tobacco auctions are underway, the state government's declaration of drought in all except two FCV tobacco-growing taluks has further exacerbated challenges for growers.
In response, the Government of India has decided to permit the sale of FCV tobacco on the Tobacco Board's auction platform, offering much-needed support to growers in the state.
Moreover, to alleviate financial burdens on growers, the government has waived penalties associated with the sale of excess production by registered growers and unauthorized production by unregistered growers for the Karnataka crop season 2023-24.
This measure aims to ease the financial strain on growers affected by adverse climatic conditions and facilitate the sale of their produce through official channels.
Despite the challenges, auctions of FCV tobacco in Karnataka have shown promising signs of increased market participation and improved prices, read the press release.
Presently, auctions for FCV Tobacco are underway in Karnataka. So far, approximately 85.12 million kilograms of FCV tobacco have been sold by the Board via its e-auction platforms in Karnataka.
There has been a notable increase of 12.49 per cent in the average price attained by tobacco farmers, rising from Rs 228.01 per kilogram last year to Rs 256.48 per kilogram this year.
The government's proactive measures underscore its commitment to supporting FCV tobacco growers amidst adversity, ensuring the sustainability of the tobacco industry and safeguarding the livelihoods of farmers in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

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