The tobacconists are in an unenviable position, demanding a purchase price of 10, not 5 euros

Tribune of tobacconists in Prilep/Photo: MIA

Tobacco must be bought at 10, not 5 euros per kilogram as offered by the buyers. Costs have increased rapidly, production has decreased, although it is of high quality, but profitability must be achieved. For the tobacco farmers, for the buyers and for the state, it was ascertained at the forum in Prilep on tobacco production organized by the National Agricultural Network. The tribune of several tobacco associations from the country was held in the Prilep city library "Borka Taleski".

- The purpose of this tribune was to get together, to review the current situation with the purchase of tobacco and to determine a common position on what to do next. as a national agricultural network, we are of the opinion that this year tobacco must be paid at least 10 euros per kilo, because we have rapidly increased costs, reduced production, and the quality has doubled and tripled, so we cannot agree to order tobacco at 5 euros for kilo. It is not economically sustainable. We sought to meet with our fellow tobacconists to build a common vision. I think we have agreed on that and the conclusion of this forum is that the requested price is justified and that we all stand firm on the demand for that price of 10 euros per kilogram of tobacco. In order to realize that, we will ask the department of the Ministry of Agriculture for a mediation to meet with the purchasing companies to convey our position that we do not sell tobacco for five euros or 300 denars and that our economic price is 10 euros and that we will not deviate from that until the end, said Gjorgi Karakashev, president of the National Industrial Network.

The buying firms use their monopoly position that the Tobacco Act allows them because it puts them in a favored position and puts the tobacconists in a subordinate position.

- We as tobacconists are put in an unenviable situation. We will defend our position to the end. So, tobacco for 5 euros can no longer be produced. If they want tobacco to be produced in Macedonia, our price is 10 euros per kilo. If it is not accepted, we cannot call for a boycott, but we will instruct the manufacturers to refrain from the delivery of tobacco, at least within the legal framework, until the deadline of December 15. In fact, it all depends on how the conversations will go. A common acceptable solution must be found with the purchasing companies, so that we can ensure livelihood for the next year as well as continuity of production, Karakashev believes.

It is not in the interest of the buying companies to ignore the tobacconists who do not want to sell the tobacco at those prices.

- If the buyers are not willing to increase the purchase price of tobacco, the proposal is for the government to oblige the Prilep tobacco plant to carry out an intervention purchase in order to force the private buyers to raise the prices, said Vasko Josifovski from the tobacco association "Tutunska nadeja" from Prilep.

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