NTA gives P5.4 M to Abra tobacco farmers
(By Adam O. Borja, The Philippine Star, January 15, 2012)The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) has given a total of P5.4 million to tobacco farmers of Abra this cropping season.
The loan package is part of the production assistance given to farmers under the Tobacco Contract Growing System of the NTA to sustain the tobacco industry.
NTA Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, in a recent visit to Bangued, Abra said he is happy to see local officials, led by Governor Eustaquio P. Bersamin, utilizing their share from the tobacco excise tax under Republic Act 7171 for the benefit of the tobacco-growers.
NTA-Abra branch manager Esmeralda G. Valera, in a report, said a total of 261 tobacco farmers had already availed of the production loan assistance.
A total of 160 hectares of tobacco farmlands are being cultivated this cropping season in the 19 tobacco growing municipalities in the province.
Aside from the production loan assistance, flue curing in the different municipalities had also been installed to facilitate the curing of tobbaco leaves to obtain better quality of leaves that would command a better price in the market.
Zaragoza reiterated his advice to the tobacco farmers not to hasten the curing process. He advised the farmers to take time and wait for the leaves to mature before harvesting to ensure better quality.
This way, farmers would get more returns on their investment because better quality leaves command higher selling price in the marker, Zaragoza said.
Valera also reported that the provincial government is still distributing fertilizers to the beneficiaries, while the initial tranche of fertilizer subsidies provided under RA 7171 to the Provincial Government has all been distributed.
Zaragoza was accompanied by Deputy Administrator Everin Molina, and NTA Board of Directors Rogelio Elvena and Geoffrey Gacula.