The Tobacco Institute of India (TII) instituted the TII Tobacco Farmers’ Awards in the year 1999 to recognize and encourage the Flue Cured Virginia (FCV) tobacco farming community into adopting modern and scientific farming practices. These annual awards seek to facilitate improvement in yields, productivity, quality and global competitiveness of the domestic cigarette tobaccos through adoption of contemporary farming practices.
The response and success of these awards over the years encouraged us to subsequently extend them, in 2009, to include the air-cured varieties of tobacco also.
These awards cover all the tobacco growing regions in the States of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. These tobacco growing regions are Southern Black Cotton Soil (SBCS), Southern Light Soil (SLS), Northern Light Soil (NLS), Karnataka Light Soil (KLS) for FCV tobacco and Vinukonda region for Burley tobacco.
The awards are presented under three categories:
- Lifetime Achievement Award
- Best Farmers Awards
- Recognition Awards
Selection process and criteria
The selection and finalisation process begins at the end of the marketing season when farmers are shortlisted on the basis of adoption of contemporary and progressive farm practices during the season. The criteria being considered in the selection process include the following:
- Good agricultural practices, e.g., soil and water conservation, integrated pest and crop management, on farm storage etc.
- Curing and barn management, including fuel efficiency.
- Yield per hectare, grade outturn, elimination of non-tobacco related materials (NTRMs) etc.
- Overall social contribution.
The criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award are slightly broader than the other two categories. This award, in addition to recognizing scientific and innovative farming practices over a longer span of time, also recognizes the leadership provided to the community on good agricultural practices and industry issues.
This annual awards ceremony also provides a platform for all stakeholders in tobacco sector to meet and interact on issues of common interest, particularly regarding farming practices and policy formation.
19th TII Tobacco Farmers’ Awards held in Guntur
The Tobacco Institute of India organized the 19th TII Tobacco Farmers’ Awards function in Guntur on 8th February 2019. A total of 17 tobacco farmers were felicitated at the event for their outstanding performance with regard to adoption of good agricultural practices, improvement of yield and production of superior quality tobacco.
Veteran tobacco farmer, Late Shri Kakarla Surya Prakash Rao from Northern Light Soil Region of Andhra Pradesh, was posthumously honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award while eight enterprising tobacco farmers were given Best Farmer Awards. Eight other farmers received Recognition Awards this year.
Shri Somireddy Chandramohan Reddy, Hon’ble Minister for Agriculture, Horticulture, Sericulture and Agri-Processing, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh inaugurated the event in the presence of Shri Magunta Sreenivasulu Reddy, Hon’ble Ex-Member of Parliament, Ongole, Andhra Pradesh; Shri Modugula Venugopala Reddy; Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Guntur West, Andhra Pradesh; Shri Mohammad Musthafa Shaik and Hon’ble Member of Legislative Assembly, Guntur East, Andhra Pradesh.
Smt. K. Sunitha, IAS, Chairperson & Executive Director, Tobacco Board; Shri G. Satyanarayana, Vice Chairman, Tobacco Board and Dr. D. Damodar Reddy Director, Central Tobacco Research Institute (CTRI) were also present on the occasion as Guests of Honour.
Besides a large number of industry representatives, Members of the Tobacco Board, and officials of CTRI, around 800 tobacco farmers from different parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka also attended the Awards function.