New Delhi: A spurt in global demand has more than doubled the price of lower grade Indian tobacco to $2 (Rs86) a kg, while the best quality variety has risen more than 60% to $6.5, in international markets since 2007. Shortage of tobacco in major markets like China contributed to the increase in prices, Tobacco Board chairman, J. Suresh Babu said.
Exports of Indian tobacco increased by 32% to $503 million in 2007-08, from over $380 million in the previous year, he added.
Mirroring high world prices, auctions in Andhra Pradesh, a leading tobacco-producing state, have witnessed an unprecedented rise in prices.
“The highest price for the best quality tobacco at auctions in Andhra Pradesh has shot up from Rs65 a kg in 2007 to Rs141 a kg in 2008—the highest ever since the Tobacco Board was set up,” Babu said.
The price of average quality tobacco, too, hit a record at Rs84.85 a kg, up from Rs47.47 last year, Babu said.
India is the third largest producer and exporter of tobacco in the world, shipping to more than 90 countries. The country produces more than 600 million kg of tobacco a year, trailing China (2,100 million kg) and Brazil (700 million kg).