The head of the Lattakia Farmers Union, Adib Mahfoud, disclosed to Athr Press that this year’s tobacco crop cultivation has experienced a decline of approximately 25-30% compared to the previous year. This drop is attributed to the challenges faced by farmers, leading a significant number of them to abstain from cultivating tobacco.
Mahfoud emphasized that a primary factor contributing to the reduction in tobacco production in Lattakia is the lowered purchase price established by the General Organization for Tobacco, discouraging farmers. He warned that unless tobacco prices are revised, the decrease in cultivation for the upcoming year could escalate to 50%.
Mahfoud highlighted the considerable hardships faced by farmers, including exorbitant costs for essential inputs such as diesel for land tillage and transportation, expensive fertilizers (if available), pesticide prices, and adverse weather conditions. These challenges include erratic rainfall, insufficient irrigation water, and hail damage to seedlings.
He further clarified that the set price of 11,500 SYP for the extra tobacco crop does not adequately compensate farmers for their expenses. This amount covers only a small fraction of the incurred material costs and does not consider the physical exhaustion endured from planting seeds to the sales season, spanning approximately 9-10 months from February to September each year.
Mahfud announced that a committee, including a member of the General Union of Farmers, will convene soon to establish new tobacco crop prices. He insisted that the purchase price per kilogram should be at least 15,000 SYP to align with the actual costs.
The General Organization for Tobacco projected receiving 3,000 tons of tobacco crops from various varieties in the tobacco-growing areas across the governorates.
It’s noteworthy that the institution had previously set prices for purchasing tobacco from farmers, with rates such as 10,500 SYP/kg for the extra degree and 8,800 SYP/kg for the first degree Shak al-Bint, 8,500 SYP/kg for the extra degree and 6,800 SYP/kg for the first degree of tumbac, and 11,500 SYP for the extra degree, 9,300 SYP for the first degree of Basma. Additionally, prices were set for Prilep at 10,500 SYP for the extra degree and 7,800 SYP for the first degree.
For Burley, the prices were established at 8,300 SYP/kg for the extra degree and 6,500 SYP/kg for the first degree. The Katerini degree was priced at 10,500 SYP/kg for the extra degree and 8,100 SYP/kg for the first degree, while the Virginia degree was set at 9,300 SYP/kg for the extra degree and 7,200 SYP/kg for the first degree.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.