LAOAG CITY — Farmers in Banna, Ilocos Norte have been inspired to go back to tobacco farming with the support of its local government unit.
Since last year, the “balik tabako” farmers of Banna have been enjoying good harvest as the Banna local government under the administration of mayor Carly Abadilla has allocated at least PHP8 million worth of assistance to encourage more farmers to plant tobacco.
“Farmers are happy the local government now provides full assistance on the production of tobacco in the form of farm machineries, irrigation equipment, farm inputs like fertilizers and pesticides, curing barn, and soft loan to them,” Banna municipal coordinator for tobacco farming Crisanta Agloco said on Monday.
When the tobacco production waned in the previous years due to low quality and the implementation of the sin tax law, the municipal government signed a memorandum of agreement with the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) and the Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc. (ULPI) to ensure there is enough supply for tobacco in the global market.
The MOA on the contract growing system for tobacco is promoted in the province to encourage quality tobacco production with the support of leaf buying companies and the local government units.
Acting manager Luzviminda U. Padayao of the NTA based in Batac City said there are at least 15 municipalities in Ilocos Norte which are under the contract growing system project.
Since tobacco farmers are mandated to sell only their produce to ULPI, Agloco said the government and the buying company may also consider providing them hauling tracks for the delivery of their products on time.
Ilocos Norte aims to increase tobacco planting within the next three years to surpass its total production of 2.9 million kilos during the last harvest season.
“Let’s make it a goal to help our farmers and ensure that our tobacco production is not only productive but competitive to the world market,” said Governor Matthew Joseph Manotoc during a meeting with tobacco farmers and traders. Leilanie Adriano / PNA – northboundasia.com