Illegal Buyers Prey on Tobacco Growers with Deceptive Offers

Exorbitant Increase in FED on Cigarettes will Push Farmers Below the Poverty Line

Tobacco is a vital cash crop for people in northern Pakistan, especially in the Mardan and Swat districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Unfortunately, tobacco growers are falling victim to illegal buyers who offer them higher prices than the fixed rates set by the tobacco board.

Mushfiq Ali Khan, President of Anjuman-i-Kahstkaran (KP), explained that these fraudulent buyers disguise themselves as legitimate tobacco buyers and encourage farmers to grow more tobacco by offering them large sums of money for their produce. However, after purchasing the tobacco for millions of rupees, they refuse to pay the farmers, leaving them in a dire financial situation.

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In 2021, he said that these illegal cigarette manufacturers and buyers encouraged farmers to grow excessive amounts of tobacco but then failed to purchase any of it, leaving the farmers with a surplus tobacco to sell.

As a result, the farmers have appealed to the government to force multinational companies to purchase the surplus. Fortunately, multinational companies have stepped in to purchase surplus tobacco and assist the struggling farmers.

It is essential for tobacco growers and government policymakers to understand the deceptive work model of illegal manufacturers and buyers who manipulate farmers for their gain, leading to significant losses. This situation is not only detrimental to the farmers’ socio-economic lives but also results in the loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer due to tax evasion.

Therefore, it is imperative for the government to take strict action against these illegal manufacturers and buyers to protect the interests of farmers and the country’s economy.

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