Tobacco farming boosted in Ilocos Norte town

Farmers in Piddig, Ilocos Norte are expanding their cropping intensity this year with a renewed interest in tobacco.

Backed by the Universal Leaf Philippines Inc. (ULPI), the biggest tobacco growing and processing company in the country and in close coordination with the National Tobacco Administration and Piddig local government, many farmers here have started planting tobacco as one of their alternative crops as all the needed farm inputs except labor is provided to them at no cost.

Piddig Mayor Eduardo Guillen made this assurance on Wednesday to all interested farmers willing to venture into tobacco farming as the municipality has committed to subsidizing their capital input.

To date, Piddig town has more than 200-hectare consolidated farm lot dedicated to tobacco farming and will entitle the municipality to additional revenue of approximately PHP200 million annually.

The additional revenue represents a share in the tobacco excise tax under Republic Act No. 7171, the law granting benefits to farmers in towns and provinces that produce Virginia tobacco.

Under this law, local governments, which produce Virginia tobacco, are entitled to 15 percent of national tax collections.

“As everything — from seeds, fertilizers, farm equipment and barn will be provided for the farmers, we expect that each farmer can earn PHP70,000-PHP80,000 per hectare from growing tobacco alone,” Guillen said in an interview.

Aside from consolidating tobacco farming, the mayor shared that another 100 hectares in Barangay Calambeg are being explored to be developed as a ranch to house the first batch of upgraded cows for wagyu meat production in the future.

Since October last year, native cows in the said town are being artificially inseminated to produce wagyu-cross calves.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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