BAT Malaysia to aid tobacco leaf farmers

KOTA BHARU: British American Tobacco Malaysia (BAT Malaysia) has pledged to help tobacco leaf farmers in Kelantan and Terengganu to replant their crops, which were devastated by flash floods recently at a cost that may run up to RM10mil.

BAT Malaysia managing director Jack Bowles, said they empathised with the plight of the farmers whose families depended almost entirely on income generated from their tobacco crops.

“We are now working very hard on the ground to determine the extent of the damage in order to have a better idea of the extent of the help and support to these farmers.”

To date, reports by the National Kenaf and Tobacco Board have revealed that close to 2000 farmers were heavily impacted by the severe floods in the Bachok, Kelantan, area alone.

The crops that were to be harvested in April had been mostly destroyed with an income loss of approximately RM23 million.

Besides Bachok, farmers in Pasir Puteh, Pasir Mas, Besut and Kuala Terengganu were also affected.

The company’s operations director Datuk Chan Choon Ngai, who was in Pasir Puteh and Bachok to review the flood situation said they would work closely with the Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities and farmers to re-plant the crops destroyed.

Chan added that the severity of the flood had also affected the company.

“The RM10mil cost only covers re-planting. Given the shortage of leaf caused by the floods, we will have to import leaf to supplement our needs and this may bring about a total potential impact of RM50mil to BAT Malaysia,” he said.

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