July 26, 2017, 2:49 am
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Tobacco leaves demand sustained post tax

BATAC, Ilocor Norte.  --  Demand  for  tobacco leaves is sustained despite the decline in cigarette consumption following the  implementation of the sin tax reform law in 2012,  Batac City Mayor Albert Chua said here. 

“(Demand for tobacco leaves is not affected). Only manufacturing companies are affected by the sin tax reform law. The farmers keep on producing,” Chua said. 

Chua said  despite being encouraged to plant other high-value crops, farmers continue to plant tobacco, especially when during  the “off” seasons of  the other high-value crops since tobacco is  considered a cash crop.

He added  aside from being used for cigarettes,  tobacco leaves are also used as pesticides.

 “The income per hectare could reach P200,000. That is the gross amount, less your production cost of about P60,000 or P70,000,” Chua said. 

“Our farmers work on multiple crops. For example, if it’s palay season, the tobacco farmer becomes a palay farmer, since tobacco can only be planted in November, during the second cropping season. So if the land is idle during the rainy season, it’s for palay,” he added. 

Chua said  farmers will always depend on tobacco for its competitiveness. 

“At the end of the day, it might be good to shift (to other crops), but how much will be their income (be)?” Chua said. 

According to a presentation of the Action for Economic Reforms (AER) in December 2016, cigarette consumption in the Philippines declined to 4.2 billion packs in 2015, versus the 5.7 billion packs in 2012. It added that local tobacco farming is largely dependent on tobacco exports

For the past four years, around 70 percent of local production were channeled  to exportation of unmanufactured tobacco,”the AER said. 

Markets for r aromatic leaf tobacco are Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Untied States, Russia, and Japan. - A. Celis
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