Agriculture Minister Arianit Hoxha proposed that the ranking of tobacco is changed and the 4th, worst quality category, is abolished. The reason is that cigarette companies have been evaluating the current harvest as very poor quality and have offered very low prices for it.
Hoxha acknowledged that the sale of tobacco is not going well, with only 256 tons purchased so far, for an average price of 163 denars. “We need to look into legal options to abolish the fourth ranking. Farmers say that the prices and estimates they’re getting are unacceptable while the companies say that farmers are mixing better quality tobacco with the worse product to bulk up its size”, Hoxha said.
He insisted that all tobacco produced this year will be purchased, but the prices are not good. Last year, the average purchase price was between 215 and 220 denars per kilogram. This year’s shortfall is blamed on both the coronavirus linked stagnation and on the poor weather conditions which affected harvest quality.