• Tobacco Farming Increases Again For Maximum Profits In Greater Rangpur
  • Farming of harmful online cigarettes has been increasing rapidly in recent years in greater Rangpur posing a threat to human and soil health when hectic efforts are on to discourage use of all tobacco products.

    Many of the farmers are being attracted towards tobacco farming following more profits and lucrative incentives being given by the multinational and local tobacco companies in the area in recent years, the farmers told the national news agency.

    A large number of farmers cultivated the harmful crop in two to three times more lands last year than that of the previous years and they are expected to bring even more land under tobacco farming this season in the area, they said.

    The farmers told BSS that they cultivated tobacco on more lands last season than that of the previous years as the tobacco companies encouraged and provided them with adequate necessary inputs.

    Farmers Echahaq Ali and Ayub Ali of Kathihara village under Sadar upazila of Rangpur while talking to BSS today said that they cultivated tobacco on two acres land each last season, which was much higher than they cultivated in the previous years.

    Farmers Abdul Khaleque and Yasin Ali of village Rofadanipara, Shamsul Haque of village Chankuri, Abul Hossain of village Jahanpur Munshirhat of Rangpur also cultivated tobacco on more than two acres land last season.

    "We had to spend a total of Taka 20,000 per acre land in tobacco farming and produced 20 maunds (one maund equals to every 40 kg) per acre to earn a net profit of over Taka 50,000 on an average last season," the farmers said.

    They also said that they would cultivate tobacco on more lands this season as plantation of the tobacco seedlings continues in full swing and the early local variety tobacco plants are growing well in the area now.

    "Many of us are losing interests in farming wheat, mustard or maize and getting interested in tobacco farming for maximum profits and as the tobacco companies have been providing fertilizers and insecticides as loans and cost-free seeds," farmers said.

    After harvesting, the farmers are selling the produce to the local godowns of the tobacco companies and getting tobacco prices after deductions of the prices of fertilizers and pesticides provided to the farmers.

    "The multinational and local tobacco companies bought their tobacco at Taka 90 to Taka 93 per kg though the middlemen tobacco traders sold their stockpiled tobacco even at higher rates of Taka 100 per kg last season," farmers said.

    This time, the companies may increase the per kg tobacco price further, the farmers said and asked the companies to deduct the loans for non-urea fertilizers as per the present reduced market rates, as fixed by the government.

    The British-American Tobacco Company, Dhaka Tobacco Company, Nasir Tobacco Company, Aziz Tobacco Company, Abul Tobacco Company etc are now providing adequate facilities for increasing tobacco production this season, farmers said.

    While talking to BSS, the farmers said that they knew no initiative so far from any organisation including the Department of Agriculture Extension to discourage farming of tobacco as it is injurious to human health, soil health and environment.

    The tobacco growers also told that they have been cultivating mostly high quality Virginia variety 'Barley', CC Tobacco and Jyati Tobacco and also cultivated some local variety 'Motihar' Tobacco on their lands.

    "We are expecting a bumper production of tobacco, plantation of which is nearing completion now and harvesting will begin from the last week of February and it will be completed by the middle of March next, they said.

    Tobacco is also being cultivated in huge tracts of the dried up beds of the Brahmaputra, Teesta, Ghaghot and other rivers and tributaries in greater Rangpur in recent years, Editor of the Weekly Janopran Nurul Amin Sarker of Chilmari and char people said.