The Jakarta Post
The West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) administration continues to monitor the purchasing process of Virginia tobacco leaves produced by local farmers despite a signed agreement that aims to protect them and their partner cigarette companies from suffering losses, an official has said.
“In price discussion meetings, we are invited by cigarette companies to act as an observer and this is mandatory because of the government’s roles as both regulator and mediator,” the NTB Plantation Agency’s business development head, Retty Wimartini, said in a recent interview.
Based on NTB Plantation Agency data, 13 cigarette companies operating in Lombok have partnered with local farmers. Of the total, only six companies have set a base price for the purchasing of Virginia tobacco leaves in the regency.
Retty said a price agreement between cigarette companies and their partner tobacco growers had been mandated in NTB Regional Regulation (Perda) No. 4/2006 on Virginia tobacco cultivation and business partnership.
The NTB administration later issued NTB Governor Regulation No. 2/2007 as an implementing regulation of Perda No.4, she said.
“Based on an agreement, the base price of the best quality Virginia tobacco is Rp 39,000 [US$2.96] per kilogram. Several other companies have decided on lower prices ranging between Rp 34,000 and Rp 35,000, but based on our observations, those prices are not yet inflicting losses on the farmers,” said Retty.
The data revealed that in this year’s growing period local farmers have planted 15,000 hectares with Virginia tobacco, producing about 30,000 tons, about two tons per hectare. (ebf)
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