Montemayor cites alternative uses of tobacco
- by Rommel Ynion () - May 30, 2001 - 12:00am
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has shown that the tobacco industry could generate billions of pesos more in revenues if only businessmen become aware of some untapped markets for the product.

Agriculture Secretary Leonardo Montemayor said that the over 12.9 million people dependent on the tobacco industry could increase their productivity by making other products out of tobacco.

Already a P21-billion industry, Montemayor said the tobacco business can be channeled to more "constructive" markets involving handicraft and even medicines.

The alternative uses of tobacco, he said, include the making of handmade paper, novelty boxes, high-trade protein, feeds, particle boards, wall materials, antibiotics, and ethanol.

"These are a far cry from the more common tobacco product on which millions of Filipinos puff everyday," Montemayor pointed out. "At least, this goes to show that tobacco is a lot more than what we think it is."

National Tobacco Administration chief Carlitos Encarnacion said the information campaign to promote the other markets for tobacco stems from President Arroyo’s program to alleviate poverty among the farmers and fisherfolk.

Encarnacion said any increase in tobacco production can be felt in well-known tobacco-growing provinces such as Iloilo, Mindoro, Negros, Bukidnon, and Misamis Oriental.

"We project that farmers could earn P30,000 more per hectare with these new tobacco products," he added. "Handmade paper production alone can help tobacco farmers earn P49,000 per hectare."

Montemayor said the other markets for tobacco, if tapped, could revolutionize the thinking of the public concerning the product.

"With these new products of our research, we hope to show to our tobacco farmers, our industrialists and manufacturers that there are other viable and more profitable uses for tobacco," Montemayor pointed out.

"We have ready markets for the tobacco, it’s just a matter of promoting it through the agricultural marketing assistance service," he added.

AGRICULTURE SECRETARY LEONARDO MONTEMAYOR BUKIDNON CARLITOS ENCARNACION DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE ENCARNACION MISAMIS ORIENTAL MONTEMAYOR NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION PRESIDENT ARROYO TOBACCO
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