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Under CDP, 15% of Land Tobacco Cultivation Moved to Other Crops

NEW DELHI: In the last three years under the government’s crop diversification programme (CDP), about 15% of the land under tobacco cultivation in India has been shifted to other crops. Tobacco is grown in an area of about 4.5 lakh hectares over 15 states and according to the agriculture ministry, over 67,000 hectares have been shifted to pulses and vegetables. Tobacco accounts for less than 0.3% of India’s arable land.

The major tobacco growing states are Andhra Pradesh (45%), Karnataka (26%), Gujarat (14%), Uttar Pradesh (5%), Tamil Nadu (2%), Bihar (2%) and West Bengal (1%). India produces 750 mn kg of tobacco annually, making it the world’s second largest producer after China, which produces 2,300 mn kg. India also ranks second in tobacco exports (260 mn kg), after Brazil (270 mn kg). The country accounts for about 6% by volume but less than 1% by value of the world tobacco trade.

CDP is part of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) and has been implemented from 2015-16 to encourage tobacco farmers to shift to alternative crops. India is a signatory to the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which make it obligatory to take steps to reduce tobacco consumption.

Data recently presented by the agriculture ministry to the Lok Sabha reveals that this shift from tobacco has happened in nine states led by Andhra Pradesh. The ministry stated that tobacco is a very remunerative crop with low incidence of pests and disease and hence is a preferred crop. However, they have been motivated to make the switch through campaigns to highlight the harmful effects of tobacco and convince them of the long-term benefits of alternative crops.

According to the Rajahmundry-based Central Tobacco Research Institute, studies have revealed that no single crop is as remunerative as tobacco. However, a remunerative cropping system rather than a sole crop can be a viable alternative to a sole tobacco crop.


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