Farmers suffering big losses as tobacco factory operations illegally blocked

Karachi, August 28, 2019: Hard working farmers are at risk of suffering heavy losses due to blocking of Philip Morris factory in Mardan by some people for past 10 – 12 days.

A group of farmers recorded their protest at the Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB), demanding the government’s relevant regulators’ intervention to resolve this crises on an immediate basis, get the factory operations resumed and save the farmers from huge losses.

Leading the delegation of farmers, Muhamamad Ikram Khan stated that:

“As the factory of Philip Morris Pakistan Limited remains under siege, Philip Morris had to stop purchase of tobacco leaf. We understand the company’s position that they cannot process tobacco because these people have blocked the factory and are not allowing anyone to enter into the factory.”

Due to this operational disruption, the tobacco farmers may lose millions of rupees in revenues. Philip Morris pays a good price to the farmers and always settles payments on time.

However, as Philip Morris has been held hostage by a few people and deprived of access to its processing-facility, the livelihood of hundreds of farmers is at stake and the entire value-chain is disrupted.

The purchasing of tobacco leaf must be completed within a specific time period so there is very limited time window otherwise, the unsold crop may rot or become unusable.

We farmers plead to the higher authorities to take notice and open the factory gate and ensure that leaf buying is resumed immediately.

Meanwhile, Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited (PMPKL), in an statement said that it is committed to supporting its workers in the tobacco industry.

The Illicit cigarette trade in Pakistan has impacted legal tobacco industry volumes in recent times and as a result PMPKL has reduced its leaf purchases and processing operations.

PMPKL has offered an ex-gratia package to all the workers at its Green Leaf Threshing facility who work for a limited period during tobacco processing season, and no longer wish to continue working due to the reduced number of working days.

PMPKL remains committed to operating in Pakistan, through its manufacturing facility in Sahiwal, the Green Leaf Threshing plant in Mardan, and by maintaining a strong ongoing commercial presence.

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