The Tobacco Research Station at Khan Garhi area in Mardan is conducting research to use tobacco leaves in every day-use items, other than cigarettes, to help the farmers earn more profits from their crops.
According to research, oil from tobacco seeds can be used in food, shampoos and paints, while its nicotine can be utilized in medicine and preparing antiseptic for burns. Similarly, a special kind of perfume can be developed from tobacco flowers, researchers told Independent Urdu
Kamran Khan, Assistant Chemist, Tobacco Research Center, Khan Garhi, Mardan and Farm Manager, Research Center, told that at the Tobacco Research Center, various experiments are underway, for the effective use of tobacco, which is an important cash crop of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Khan said that the tobacco crop has the same beneficial and harmful effects as every other crop, but so far it is believed to produce only cigarettes and snuff, so the health department and other NGOs want the tobacco crop to be eradicated from the agriculture fields. “Tobacco is the most lucrative crop for farmers and has no substitute,” he said. There is no other crop which can generate enough profit for the farmers as it is even more profitable crop than sugarcane. The researcher said that his company had also made a pesticide from tobacco called ‘Nicosaid Forty’.
A PhD students at the Tobacco Research Center also studied the extraction of oil from tobacco seeds, which contain 40% crude oil. No one in Pakistan had worked on it before. Oil extracted from tobacco seeds is used worldwide for a variety of purposes. In Turkey, Tanzania, Bulgaria and Greece, tobacco oil is also consumed as an edible oil and also used in oil paints, shoes polishes and nail polish.
Kamran Khan said that biodiesel can also be obtained from tobacco and also perfume can be made from its flowers. He said he was also working on a chewing gum that would help betel or gutka addicted people to get rid of the habit. Mir Wali, a tobacco grower from Jamal Garhi, also welcomed the Tobacco Board Research Center’s move.
Liaquat Ali Yousafzai, chairman of the Tobacco Growers Association of Pakistan, told The Independent Urdu that the government isn’t giving the tobacco crop the attention it needed and had left it at the mercy of multinational companies. He said that tobacco is being researched in Europe whereas in Pakistan tobacco is known only for cigarettes and snuff. He said that there should be research on its positive use of tobacco so that local farmers don’t lose the profitable crop.