Bangalore, May 4: Unauthorized tobacco growers in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, the two major tobacco producing states, will be slapped with higher penalty than the present Rs.2 per kg and 15 percent of the crop sold, an official said Wednesday.
Higher penalty will be imposed as excess production would impact the prices which have already declined in view of surplus in international market, Tobacco Board chairperson G. Kamala Vardhana Rao told reporters here.
Andhra Pradesh is the largest tobacco producer followed by Karnataka, where it is grown in around 200,000 acres.
Rao said there were 40,000 unauthorized tobacco growers in Karnataka alone. Andhra Pradesh has 20,000, he said.
Rao did not indicate the rate of higher penalty to be imposed on unauthorized growers and also on those who grow in excess of the ceiling fixed by the board.
The production target for Karnataka in 2011-12 has been fixed at 101.62 million kgs of Virginia Flue Cured (VFC) variety, he said.
The VFC is used for cigarettes. Karnataka produces about one-third of the total VFC tobacco in the country.
Rao said around 3.7 million farmers grow tobacco in the country making it the second largest tobacco producer. China is the largest producer.
Last year India produced 730 million kg tobacco, of which VFC contributed 270 million kgs, Rao said.