By: Freddie G. Lazaro, PIA 1, Ilocos Norte
LAOAG CITY, March 12 (PIA) – A tobacco company has sealed an agreement that paves the way for outreach projects for tobacco farmers in the Ilocos and Cagayan Valley provinces.
Mighty Corporation through its president retired General Edilberto Adan and retired Judge Oscar Barrientos signed an agreement with the National Federation of Tobacco Growers’ Association and Cooperatives (NAFTAC) represented by its national president Mario Cabasal to pursue joint projects that will uplift tobacco farmers under the former’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) program.
The cigarette firm has already delivered 90 diesel-fed water pumps and 16 units of power tillers to various farm groups in the provinces of Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela and Cagayan, the country’s top producers of the yellow leaf tobacco.
The company said it will also sponsor the college education of 100 new high school graduates who are sons and daughters of tobacco farmers under the National Tobacco administration’s three year-old scholarship program.
It also plans to support the NTA’s yearly search for the best tobacco farmers in the country.
NTA Administrator Edgar D. Zaragoza has said the company’s CSR will boost the tobacco industry.
“The more players dealing directly with the farmers, the better and merrier,” he said.
Zaragoza said other tobacco companies such as Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation, Universal Leaf and Trans Manila have their similar CSR programs.
“This should encourage other industry players to do the same to help the tobacco farmers and their familes,” he added.
Mighty Corp. has earlier announced it is ready to buy 10 million kilograms of tobacco leaves directly from farmers. It also promised to buy all the leaves that other players in the industry could not absorb.
Farmers have been producing an average 70 million kilos of the golden leaf in the past five years, half of which was sold to cigarette manufacturers, the half exported to markets abroad.
The 10 million kilograms Mighty promised to buy represents one-fifth of tobacco leaves sold to local cigarette manufacturers. #