Tobacco Cultivation in Pakistan Essay

Tobacco cultivation in Pakistan Tobacco belongs to family Solonaceae and genus Nicotiana. It has four species but only two of them are cultivated around the globe. These include Nicotiana tabacum and Nicotiana rustica. Cultivated species of tobacco contains 36 or 48 chromosomes while 24 chromosomes are found in wilds species. It has terminal raceme inflorescence which may contain 150 flowers. Its seed is very small 2000-5000 seeds per 2-valved capsule. It is an annual plant with tap root system. Being cash crop grown all over the world it has a good economic value also.

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In Pakistan, during 2006-07 it was planted on 51000 hectares with 103300 tones of production. Out of which 30800 hectares were planted in NWFP. Its value of export was 570. 2 million rupees which is 0. 44% share in all crops exports of Pakistan. (Federal Bureau of Statistics, 2008). Cigarettes & tobacco gave 30. 6 billion rupees indirect taxes which are 5. 4% shares in gross (Federal Board of Revenue, 2008). Tobacco was relished by the inhabitants of this area long even before the Portuguese introduced it in the sixteenth century during the reign of Great Moghul Emperor Akbar.

The people of the Indus Basin, now Pakistan, are known to have perceived to stimulating effect of inhaled smoke from burning the native herbs. So when tobacco made its appearance in the sub-continent, it did not take long to be recognized as a better substitute with distinctive pleasure giving properties (Mumtaz, 1978). The soil and climatic conditions of Pakistan proved conducive for the production of tobacco of many types. These types could be further modified into several sub-types through application of various agronomic and curing treatments to the produce.

In consequence many distinct varieties of tobacco have thus emerged in the country. Tobacco and its products have attained a position of high economic and fiscal importance and become a target of taxation in most of the countries due to its growing acceptability by the users and world-wide trade. According to old chronicles of the Moghul period, special levies were imposed in areas where tobacco cultivation was concentrated. The British East India Company also made this a legally excisable commodity.

Ever since tobacco and its manufacturers have been a potential source of government revenues and gave this crop an added importance amongst other agricultural crops. Till the time of attaining independence, though Pakistan produced a number of tobacco types of commercial importance yet no cigarette type tobacco was produced in the country. In 1948, a humble beginning was made with trial plantation of 20 acres of flue-cured Virginia tobacco. Since then the story of production of cigarette type tobacco is on of progress and expansion.

Pakistan Tobacco Board, an autonomous body of the Ministry of Commerce set up in 1968. Research on the crop is responsibility of the Board along marketing of raw tobacco and its development. No other Federal or Provincial Government body deals with the crop. Production of variety for the area is of prime importance but since 1968 not a single variety has been produced only introductions are tested and promising lines were recommended for cultivation. Among introductions Coker 254 was recommended as cultivated variety during 70’s.

Among many introductions Speight G 28 was performing best in the trials and replaced Coker 254 as a commercial variety during 1977-78. Since that time Speight G 28 is still spacious commercial variety. K 399 was given during 1996 as another commercial variety but it does not exceed the Speight G 28. None of the country produced variety has attained the place of commercial variety. There is a great need to produce a country produced variety to attain place of a commercial variety.

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