Tobacco output seen surpassing 42 million kg this year

Jasper Emmanuel Arcalas - The Philippine Star
Tobacco output seen surpassing 42 million kg this year
A farmer checks on the tobacco leaves being dried at his compound in a village in Villasis, Pangasinan over the weekend.
Cesar Ramirez / The Philippine STAR

CANDON, Ilocos Sur, Philippines —The country’s tobacco production this year could expand to a three-year high of over 42 million kilograms on the back of higher demand and better prices, the National Tobacco Administration (NTA) said.

NTA Administrator Belinda Sanchez said government interventions coupled by favorable climatic conditions and higher buying prices would push tobacco output to surpass last year’s production of 42 million kg.

The buying price of prime class flue-cured Virginia tobacco has reached as high as P113 per kg, way above its P97 per kg floor price, according to the NTA’s monitoring.

The prime class of both air-cured Burley and Native tobacco fetched as much as P100 per kg, higher than their approved floor price of P81 per kg, the NTA added. 

“The tobacco buying price increase reflects market demand and crop quality as well as the presence of good weather and the increase of floor prices,” Sanchez said during the Tobacco Festival 2024 here.

The event, hosted by Candon City, highlights the role of tobacco in the national economy as well as its heritage and culture.

The NTA said the trading for flue-cured Virginia tobacco started in February and is expected to last until June. Meanwhile, the trading for both air-cured Burley and Native tobacco leaves began in the last week of March and will last until July.

The NTA noted that 2.2 million Filipinos depend on tobacco production including at least 430,000 farmers and farm workers and their family members.

Against this backdrop, the NTA said it is now verifying the extent of damage caused by El Niño on tobacco farms following reports from its branch offices in Region 1 that some production areas were affected by the weather disturbance.

“Although we have our campaign on early planting of tobacco, some of our farmers were not spared from the effects of El Niño, especially those tobacco planted in upland areas,” the NTA said.

“As to the level of damage, we are currently conducting an initial assessment and validation of this report,” the NTA added.

Nonetheless, the NTA, an attached agency of the Department of Agriculture, assured stakeholders that the country will still produce “good quality” tobacco this year. 

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