Tobacco Board of India has been awarded the Golden Leaf Award in the Most Impressive Public Service Initiative category for the year 2019, for its efforts to initiate various sustainability (green) initiatives in Flue-Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco cultivation in India.
About Golden Leaf Awards:
- The Golden Leaf Awards were created to recognize professional excellence and dedication in the tobacco industry.
- They are granted on an annual basis to companies that have achieved outstanding performance in five categories - most impressive public service initiative, most promising new product introduction, most exciting newcomer to the industry, most outstanding service to the industry and the most committed to quality award.
Tobacco Production in India:
- India is the world's fourth-largest producer of Flue-Cured Virginia(FCV) Tobacco.
About Flue- Cured Virginia(FCV) Tobacco:
Curing is the term used for drying tobacco and is performed after harvesting the leaves from the field. Virginia tobacco is flue-cured, which means that the leaves are hung into curing barns, where heated air is generated to dry the leaves. As they lose their moisture, they develop their distinct aroma, texture and colour.
Flue-cured leaf is characterized by a high sugar: nitrogen ratio.
- About 88,000 FCV tobacco farmers and their families in the states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are dependent on this crop for their livelihood.
- Cultivation of tobacco is done all over the country, although the commercial cultivation of tobacco is concentrated in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
- Andhra Pradesh ranks first in terms of Tobacco Production as it has most conducive conditions for Tobacco Production. Conditions -
- 50-100cm annual rainfall (It cannot sustain in rainfall more than 100cm)
- 15-20 degrees temperature during the growth period
- warm climates with rich, well-drained soil.
- Too dry weather is not suitable as leaves break into small pieces.
- Tobacco Board is a statutory body established under The Tobacco Board Act of 1975
- It comes under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
- The main functions of the Board include -
- Regulating the production and curing of Virginia tobacco in India,
- Implementation of extension and developmental activities for improving the yields and quality of tobacco,
- Facilitating the sale of tobacco through e-auctions on the auction floors of the Board,
- Undertaking various grower welfare measures
- Export promotion of tobacco and tobacco products.
Steps Taken by Tobacco Board:
- Initiatives on natural farming in tobacco cultivation for production of organic tobacco were encouraged. Trials were undertaken in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka in about 30 plots covering an area of 120 acres.
- Improving the soil health through green manuring - In 2019-2020 crop season, following a special drive, an area of 8,200 hectares was covered under green manure crops in the state of Andhra Pradesh.
- Green cover - Tobacco Board has supplied 6,50,000 saplings through the forest department to the tobacco farmers for greenery development in tobacco-producing areas.
- Promotion of advanced nursery technologies- Green Tech nurseries were established in tobacco-growing regions
- Elimination of pesticide residues - Tobacco Board took up a campaign in the hot spot areas which had higher Chemical Plant Protection Agent (CPA) residues and put in place a track and trace mechanism which has ultimately yielded positive test results as shown by the decline in CPA residues well below the Guidance Residue Levels(GRL’s)
- Energy conservation - 30000 barns in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka are insulated resulting in energy savings of 25%.
- Educating and guiding farmers on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP)
Tobacco Board believes that these initiatives will contribute to the overall benefit of the farming community and sustenance of the tobacco industry, thereby promising to achieve the ultimate goal of sustainable development.