LAOAG CITY— Tobacco farmers in this northern part of Luzon are being encouraged to improve the quality of their produce to ensure higher income.
The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) is pushing for contract growing scheme to ensure fair market of their products.
Over the years, tobacco farming — considered as a sunset industry — has been the lifeblood of local farmers here. This commodity is also giving millions of income to local government units here with their share in the tobacco excise tax under Republic Act 7171.
Some of the tobacco farmer representatives from here are at the NTA central office in Quezon City to attend a tripartite consultative conference on September 6 and 7.
Mario Cabasal, president of National Association of Tobacco Farmers Associations and Cooperatives hopes to arrive at a fair market price of their produce.
The NTA, led by Administrator Robert Seares, organized the biennial tripartite conference for the tobacco farmers, cigarette manufacturers, tobacco dealers and exporters to evaluate and negotiate the floor prices of unprocessed tobacco leaves.
Floor price is referred to as the minimum price allowed by the government for the procurement of tobacco buyers from the farmers. This is set based on the prevailing market conditions, such as production cost, reasonable margin of profit for stakeholders and growing conditions.
To date, the current floor prices for the highest grade of each tobacco type are PHP81 for Virginia, PHP68 for Burley and PHP70 for native type. (PNA-PR)