PMFTC ramps up Virginia tobacco production
Ted P. Torres (The Philippine Star) - August 8, 2015 - 10:00am

CLAVERIA, Misamis Oriental, Philippines – Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (PMFTC) aims to boost the capacity of its  facility here to  four million kilos annually in the next two to three years.

This forms part of the planned $50 million investment by PMFTC in its 10-hectare tobacco plantation in Claveria, Misamis Oriental.

PMFTC operates a state-of-the-art fresh leaf buying facility in Claveria.  Set up in 2012, the facility will convert fresh tobacco leaves into processed tobacco.

From Mindanao, the processed tobacco leaf will be sent to the Vigan facility for stemming. From here, the tobacco will then be sent to the Marikina factory to be converted into commercial cigarettes.

Operations in Claveria also include involving the local farming communities in the production of tobacco plants.

Ravi Lumunsad, operations manager of the Claveria facility, said the  company has so far spent $15 million out of the $50-million budget.

PMFTC extends production assistance in the form of cash inputs and technical assistance.

Following  harvest, the company buys the tobacco leaves from the farmers and flue cures them, using the six barns it constructed with the slabs from sawmills as fuel.

The company hopes to produce one million Virginia tobacco leaves this year and expects to increase this further to four million by 2018.

Virginia tobacco, also known as Brightleaf tobacco, is the most widely-grown type of tobacco in the country, comprising 58 percent of the tobacco cultivation areas.

This export-oriented tobacco variety is also the most common type of flue-cured tobacco used for making cigarettes.

According to the National Tobacco Administration, tobacco firms are increasingly turning to Misamis Oriental for growing Virginia tobacco.

NTA administrator Edgardo Zaragoza earlier said the province was a suitable location for growing the Virginia variety because of its fertile land; and good climate.

Virgina is commercially grown in the provinces of Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union.

Tobacco farmers in Misamis Oriental, particularly in the municipalities of Opol, El Salvador, Alubijid, Laguindingan, Gitagum, Libertad and Initao, have been growing the native variety only.

 

CLAVERIA EDGARDO ZARAGOZA EL SALVADOR FROM MINDANAO ILOCOS NORTE ILOCOS SUR LA UNION LIBERTAD AND INITAO MISAMIS ORIENTAL NATIONAL TOBACCO ADMINISTRATION TOBACCO
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