By Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA- 1/Ilocos Sur)
VIGAN CITY, April 10 (PIA) — The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) has assured farmers of high buying prices for flue–cured Virginia tobacco products this season.
NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza said that private traders have committed to buy Virginia tobacco leaves from P74 to P76 per kilogram for the neutral-type and P95 per kilogram for full–flavor type.
The neutral type is used as filler in cigar making while the full-flavor type is a high-nicotine tobacco used for blending in cigar manufacturing. The full-flavor type tobacco is produced through contract growing system between the farmer and the tobacco company.
“The prevailing buying prices of the prime class of flue–cured Virginia are higher than the approved floor prices of country’s tobacco this season,” Zaragoza said.
The floor prices of the different classes of tobacco were approved during the tri-partite conference initiated by the NTA and attended by the representatives of tobacco farmers, cigarette manufacturers and tobacco traders in 2011.
The conference is held every two years to adjust tobacco prices based on prevailing costs of farm inputs.
This season, the approved tobacco floor prices were the following: Virginia tobacco – Type: Class AA – P72.00/kg; A- P69.00/kg; B – P67.00/kg; C – P65.00/kg; D – P60.00/kg; E – P59.00/kg; F1 – P53.00/kg; F2 – P50.00/kg; and R – P40.00/kg.
Burley tobacco – type: Class A- P51.00/kg; B – P49.00/kg; C – P47.00/kg; D – P42.00/kg; E – P41.00/kg; FF – P34.00/kg; and R – P25.00/kg; and the Native/Dark – type: High class – P56.00/kg; M1 – P46.00/kg; M2 – P39.00/kg; L1 – P31.00/kg; L2 – P22.00/kg.
“With a favorable weather condition, I expect an increased tobacco production this year,” Zaragoza said noting that the NTA expects at least 80 million kg of total tobacco produce which is higher than the P79.1 million kg production in 2011.
He said more than three million Filipinos depend on the tobacco industry for livelihood.#