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Govt Approves Interest-Free Loan to FCV Tobacco Farmers

While Andhra Pradesh grapples with the aftermath of cyclonic devastation, Karnataka's tobacco industry navigates through drought-induced challenges with resilience.

Shivam Dwivedi
Govt Approves Interest-Free Loan to FCV Tobacco Farmers (Photo Source: Pexels)
Govt Approves Interest-Free Loan to FCV Tobacco Farmers (Photo Source: Pexels)

MICHAUNG cyclone has left a devastating impact on the Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco crop in Andhra Pradesh, India from 3rd to 5th December 2023. With the crop season underway, the cyclonic rains wreaked havoc across several districts including Eluru, East Godavari, Kakinada, Prakasam, Nellore, Bapatla, Palnadu, and Guntur, affecting an estimated area of 14,730 hectares out of the total 75,355 hectares planted. This accounts for nearly 20% of the cultivated area. Understanding the hardships faced by FCV tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh, the Government of India has taken a proactive step by approving an interest-free loan of Rs 10,000 from the Grower Welfare Fund of the Tobacco Board.

Impact of Cyclone on FCV Tobacco Growers

The heavy rains led to various detrimental effects on the FCV tobacco crop, including the washing out of crops, drowning of standing crops, waterlogging, and wilting of standing crops. This spells disaster for the 42,915 FCV tobacco growers in Andhra Pradesh, as their livelihoods are significantly jeopardized due to the cyclonic calamity.

The interest-free loan, which is specific to the Andhra Pradesh Crop Season 2023-24, aims to provide much-needed relief to the affected growers. Notably, the loan amount will be recuperated from the auction sale proceeds of the 2023-24 Andhra Pradesh crop season.

Flourishing Auctions in Karnataka Amidst Drought Woes

In stark contrast to the plight in Andhra Pradesh, the auction of FCV tobacco is flourishing in Karnataka despite the challenges posed by drought conditions. With approximately 39,552 FCV tobacco growers, Karnataka has witnessed auctions of around 85.12 million kilograms of FCV tobacco through the Tobacco Board's e-auction platforms.

A noteworthy aspect of the Karnataka auctions is the remarkable increase in the average price received by tobacco growers. Compared to the previous year's average of Rs 228.01 per kilogram, this year's average stands at Rs 256.48 per kilogram, reflecting a notable surge of 12.49%.

Government Initiatives to Mitigate Drought Impact

Yet, the shadow of drought casts a significant threat over FCV tobacco growers in Karnataka, as the State Government has declared drought in all except two FCV tobacco-growing taluks. In response to this dire situation, the Government of India has decided to alleviate the burden on growers by permitting the sale of FCV tobacco on the Tobacco Board's auction platform.

This move comes with the waiver of penalties on excess production by registered growers and unauthorized production by unregistered growers, specifically for the Karnataka Crop Season 2023-24.

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