Livelihood of over 300,000 tobacco farmer community in jeopardy | Daily News


 

Livelihood of over 300,000 tobacco farmer community in jeopardy

Jayantha Egodawela
Jayantha Egodawela

The livelihood of the country’s 300,000 tobacco farming community will be severally affected if the Government imposes the ban of tobacco cultivation from 2020, `All Ceylon Cigarette Tobacco Barn Owner’s Association’ (ACCTBOA) said.

The ACCTBOA made these remarks at a meeting held in Colombo to create awareness of media about the Government’s proposed tobacco cultivation ban which is going to be implemented from 2020.

The ACCTBOA said in addition to tobacco farming community, over 20,000 farmers in Polonnaruwa , Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Matale, Badulla, Kuruinegala, Monaragala and Kandy districts where tobacco is cultivated will lose their sole livelihood unless the authorities do not revert the ban.

“Although our association pledged the authorities including the President and the Agriculture Ministry, mentioning our service to develop the national economy and also the pathetic living conditions of our farmers and dependents of the industry we have still not received any fruitful response from either side,” ACCTBOA, President Jayantha Egodawela said.

He said tobacco farmers provide the required 100 percent processed tobacco leaves to Ceylon Tobacco Compnay (CTC) every year without any interruption and such a situation has resulted the CTC to refrain from importing tobacco leaves from major tobacco producing countries such as Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

President Egodawela further said if the Government’s proposed tobacco cultivation ban is implemented, then the CTC will have to import raw materials by paying a huge amount of foreign exchange.

Egodage also said cultivators are ready to stop cultivating tobacco at any time if the Government gives an assurance to introduce a profitable acceptable alternative agricultural crop instead of tobacco cultivation.

“But, without giving any such assurance how could we stop this cultivation and let 300,000 over farming community to survive without any income, “ he said.

 


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