TOBACCO PRODUCERS BLOCK THE PURCHASE CAMPAIGN
Tobacco-growers all over Bulgaria will stop selling their 2002 yield, the Union of Tobacco Producers announced. Julian Kenarski, Chairman of the branch organization, motivated this step by the subjectivism of Bulgartabac's experts in determining the quality of the crop. About 60% of the broad-leaved tobacco of the Virginia and Burley variety, that has been picked up and dried so far, will not be paid for because the holding's experts have qualified it as good-for-nothing or third class. Under the governmental Decree on Amending and Supplementing the Regulations for Application of the Tobacco and Tobacco Products Act (approved by the Council of Ministers on July 4, 2001), which enters into effect now, the Tobacco Fund will be paying premiums only for first- and second-class tobacco.The purchase campaign began 20 days ago and everything was going on well. The crop was being appraised by Bulgartabac's regional experts, Georgi Spassov, a producer from the region of Pazardjik who grows broad-leaved tobacco on 1,200 dca, told the BANKER weekly. Last week the holding's expert Antonina Vladovska ordered a new evaluation of the tobacco which had already been delivered, and only 20% of the purchased quantity was appraised as first-class. In this situation the crop that has not been gathered yet will remain in the firleds.Tobacco-growers claim they have strictly observed all agrotechnical recommendations of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry. According to them, if the tobacco's quality is low, it is due to the seeds, produced by the Tobacco Institute near Plovdiv, and supplied by the Tobacco Fund.