The Jakarta Post
The Indonesian Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI) has called on the government to control the importation of tobacco to protect local farmers who have been heavily affected by the influx of imported tobacco.
APTI chairman Agus Parmuji and the association’s members from nine provinces expressed their concerns about the impacts of tobacco importation during their meeting with President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo at the Merdeka Palace in Jakarta on Monday.
The farmers wanted the government allowed cigarette companies to import tobacco only if they had absorbed the local products.
“There should be a regulation under which a company, which buys only a small amount of local tobacco, will get a small [tobacco] importation quota. Meanwhile, for a company that buys a big amount of local tobacco, the government can give a bigger import quota, but this should be no more than 20 percent of its total consumption of tobacco,” Agus said after the meeting.
According to APTI data, Indonesia imported 28,000 tons of tobacco in 2003, but it later surged by more than three times to 90,000 tons in 2010 and again to 150,000 tons in 2012, accounting for 72.5 percent of total tobacco leaf consumption at that time.
Agus said that the increase of imported tobacco had resulted in quite a low absorption of local tobacco and their prices had continued to decline.
Local tobacco production amounts to 247,000 tons annually with prices varying from Rp 45,000 (US$3.32) per kilogram in Lampung to Rp 350,000 per kg for high-quality tobacco from Temanggung, Central Java. (ebf)