By Deputy Regional Director Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA, La Union
QUEZON CITY – The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) recently released the newly-increased floor prices of tobacco for trading seasons 2018-2019
NTA Administrator Robert L. Seares said in an interview that the new prices for the three tobacco types being produced in the country such as Virginia, Burley, and Native, were approved during the series of the Tobacco Tripartite Consultative Conference held at the NTA Central Office in Quezon City.
The increase of tobacco floor prices was realized after fruitful negotiations between the tobacco farmers and leaf buyers following the September 6 tripartite conference.
The new floor prices of tobacco are the following: for the flu-cured Virginia tobacco, which is composed of 60 percent of the total tobacco production area in the country, the floor price per kilogram for its top grades increased to Php 82 for Grade AA, Php 81 for A, Php 80 for B, Php 78 for C, Php 70 for D, Php 69 for E; Php 60 for F1, and Php 57 for F2.
For Burley, the top-grade A rose by Php 2 bringing the price per kilo to P70 from the current P68. The floor prices for grades B, C, D, E, and F are now Php 67, Php 58, Php 47, Php 46, and Php 38, respectively, an increase of Php 2, except for Grade F which increased by Php 1, from the current prices per kilo.
The floor prices of the native-type were increased as follows: High-grade, from P70 to P71; Medium 1, from P58 to P60; and Medium 2, from P48 to P50.
Seares said that there is no increase on reject class of tobacco to further discourage its production.
“We are encouraging our farmers to follow the proper technology on tobacco production to avoid the production of reject,” he said.
Tobacco farmer leader Mario C. Cabasal, president of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers Associations and Cooperatives (NAFTAC), expressed his satisfaction to the newly-increased floor prices of tobacco.
“With this development, more farmers are surely inspired to plant tobacco this coming season,” Cabasal said.
Following the successful negotiation, Seares said that the tobacco agency will now focus to the programs focusing to the reduction of tobacco production cost such as offering of subsidy in the form of production assistance.
Seares assured that the setting of the tobacco floor prices provides tobacco farmers a guaranteed minimum return on investment of at least 25 percent for expenses.
“The actual buying price, which is based on prevailing market prices, is usually higher than the approved tobacco floor price,” he said.
He expected that more farmers are engaging in growing tobacco this season as he cited that tobacco is considered as the main cash crop in Ilocos provinces after the rice season.#