Tobacco auctions fetch average price of Rs 197 per kg
DECCAN CHRONICLE | AVINASH P. SUBRAMANYAM
Tirupati: The tobacco auctions initiated by the Tobacco Board for the current season are moving on a positive note at all four platforms in Prakasam district. With high demand in the international market and a decline in output over the past few years owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, tobacco auction platforms are gathering momentum this season.
According to the Tobacco Board, under the first phase, the auctions are proceeding on four platforms — Podili in the Southern Light Soil (SLS) region, Ongole-1, Kondepi, and Vellampalli in the Southern Black Soil (SBS) region. The tobacco farmers are realising an average of Rs 197.97 per kg of tobacco on all the platforms as of Thursday. Till date, about 2,799 bales have been marketed, and the cumulative quantity of tobacco marketed was 3,59,327.4 kg.
Though the farmers are getting an encouraging price this season, they hope for at least a 20 per cent increase in the price, as the product commanded a cumulative average price of Rs 231.28 at auction platforms across Karnataka during this season. On average, farmers are bringing 300 to 400 bales per day to the auction platforms in Prakasam district, and the number of rejected bales has slightly decreased this time.
On the other hand, the traders are showing little interest in buying medium-grade or ungraded tobacco. "It is difficult for a mildewed and smelly tobacco leaf to find a buyer. But medium-grade or ungraded tobacco will get a good price by the end of the auctions if the demand in the global market picks up, "a Board official said.
He claimed that they were trying to maximise the price of high-quality tobacco by encouraging more buyers and agents to attend auctions on a daily basis. "Farmers are now receiving an attractive price of up to Rs 200 per kg for high-grade this season. Rejection of bales has also decreased this time. If the same trend continues, the auctions will be finished by the end of the month or the first half of April, "the official added.
Meanwhile, the second phase of auctions will start on March 9 in five SLS areas, including Kandukur-I, Kandukur-II, Kaligiri, D.C. Palli, and Kanigiri, and two SBS areas, including Ongole-II and Tangutur platforms. Similarly, auctions in Northern Light Soil areas will begin on March 23 at various platforms, including Devarapalli, Jangareddigudem-I, Jangareddigudem-II, Koyyalagudem, and Gopalapuram.