Tobacco output jumped 11.8% in 2013
The domestic output of tobacco fired up by 11.8 percent to 53,750 metric tons in 2013 as prices rose and financing for farmers increased.
Documents from the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) showed that more than half (52.5 percent) of last year’s harvest was Virginia tobacco.
A fifth of the 2013 output was of native tobacco while the rest was mostly Burley, which is used mainly for the manufacture of cigarettes.
According to the BAS, financial and marketing aid to growers in Ilocos Sur—provided by Universal Leaf Philippines Inc. and and Philip Morris-Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC)—pushed up Virginia tobacco output by 19.5 percent to 28,245 MT.
Burley production rose by 5.7 percent to14,702 MT as “good” prices encouraged more farmers in Occidental Mindoro and Pangasinan to grow this variety.
“Farmers in Occidental Mindoro were also provided with financial and marketing assistance by PMFTC,” the BAS said.
The Ilocos region accounted for 69 percent of national tobacco output last year.
According to the National Tobacco Administration, more than 100 tobacco farmers in Ilocos Sur and Abra were able to earn a total of P25.24 million by raising hogs in between harvest, thanks to the AgriPinoy program.
The NTA said 114 farmer-beneficiaries of the first batch of the hog-fattening component of the AgriPinoy Tobacco Farmers Food Processing Plant and Trading Center sold a total of about 239,000 kilos of swine.
The NTA buys the fattened hog at prevailing market price and sells them as processed meat—such as tocino, tapa, barbecue, bagnet, longganisa and ham—to major trading outlets, food terminals, government offices and supermarkets.
Last October, the NTA inaugurated the P165-million food-processing and trading facility meant mainly to link up farmers to their market without going through middlemen.
The facility is expected to help lower the production cost for tobacco growers, particularly in buying agricultural inputs and in selling their products.
Also, the facility also includes an abattoir that can process 200 head of livestock daily as well as a chicken-dressing plant with a throughput of 200 fowls an hour.
According to NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, an additional P35 million has been allocated as working capital for the AgriPinoy center.
Zaragoza said the NTA wanted to enable some 7,700 tobacco growers to use the AgriPinoy center within a year.
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