NTA guarantees comfortable buying prices for Virginia tobacco

The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) is guaranteeing the comfortable buying prices of various classes of flue-cured Virginia tobacco produced by farmers in Region 1 this season.

NTA Administrator Edgardo Zaragoza said private traders committed to buy all Virginia tobacco leaves at P74 to P76 per kilogram (kg) for neutral type and P95/kg for the full-flavor type.

Neutral-type tobacco refers to an specie of Virginia tobacco being grown by the farmers in Ilocos region for use as filler in cigar making while the full-flavor type of Virginia tobacco is high in nicotine used for blending in cigar manufacturing.

The full-flavor type tobacco is produced through contract growing system between the farmer and the tobacco company.

“Actually, the prevailing buying prices of the prime class of flue-cured Virginia tobacco are higher than the approved floor prices of country’s tobacco this season,” he said.

These floor prices of the different classes of all-types of tobacco produced in the country had been approved during the tri-partite conference initiated by the NTA attended by representatives of tobacco farmers, cigarette manufacturers and tobacco traders in 2011.

The conference is being held every two years to set relevant prices of produced tobacco in the country to consider the continuous increase in cost of farm inputs.

This season, the approved tobacco floor prices are the following: Virginia tobacco-Type: Class AA - P72/kg; A- P69/kg; B - P67/kg; C - P65/kg; D - P60/kg; E - P59/kg; F1 - P53/kg; F2 - P50/kg; and R - P40/kg.

Burley tobacco - type: Class A- P51/kg; B - P49/kg; C - P47/kg; D - P42/kg; E - P41/kg; FF - P34/kg; and R - P25/kg; and the Native/Dark - type: High class - P56/kg; M1 - P46/kg; M2 - P39/kg; L1 - P31/kg; L2 - P22/kg.

Zaragoza also stressed that the increase of sin tax on tobacco did not adversely affect the tobacco industry in the country.

This developed as the Virginia tobacco still the main cash crop of farmers in Northern Luzon, particularly Ilocos Sur, after the rice season.

“With the favorable weather condition in tobacco growing this season, I’m expecting more than 80 million kilogram volume of total production, which is higher than the 79. 1 million kilogram volume of production in 2011,” he said. “At present, more than three million Filipinos are dependent on the tobacco industry,” he added.