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Tobacco growers in 4 more provinces get curing barn assistance

A total of 954 tobacco growers in Pangasinan, Abra, Cagayan, and Isabela received curing barn assistance from NTA. The ceremonial release, spearheaded by the provincial branch offices, was held in different venues in separate schedules in September.

Earlier, some 884 farmers availed of the program in Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and La Union. This has brought the total of beneficiaries of the NTA Curing Barn Assistance Program (CBAP) to 1,838 from all major tobacco growing provinces in the country as of October 30.

Some 200 tobacco growers in Pangasinan received P7.2-million air-curing shed assistance during the ceremonial release held at the Robert Estrella Stadium in Rosales, Pangasinan on September 14. The release was one of the highlights of the Tobacco Industry Forum organized by NTA Pangasinan, headed by Branch Manager Engr. Cesario G. Sambrana, for local leaders, tobacco growers, and other industry stakeholders.

The one-day event was graced by NTA Administrator Robert L. Seares, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member Noel C. Bince, Provincial Agriculturist Dalisay Moya, Mayor Constante B. Agbayani of San Fabian, Mayor Silverio Alarcio Jr. of Laoac, farmer leader Saturnino C. Distor, and representatives of leaf buyers in the province.

The farmers either received P20,000 each for repair/improvement or P50,000 each for construction of air-curing shed for Burley/Native tobacco.

NTA implemented the Curing Barn Assistance Program (CBAP) for Fiscal Year 2016-2017 to promote the use of the NTA-prescribed efficient curing sheds; and help the farmers increase their income through the production of properly cured leaf with these prescribed sheds.

In Isabela, 390 tobacco growers received P11-million curing barn assistance from the NTA. The ceremonial release, attended by farmer beneficiaries, was held at the Isabela Provincial Coop Office at Bgy. Alibagu in Ilagan City on September 21.

This was graced by Administrator Seares, Deputy Administrator for Operations Atty. Mel John I. Verzosa, and Mayor Jossie Maria Bella L. Juan of Quirino, Isabela.

Of the 390 farmer beneficiaries, 160 received assistance for construction while 230 for repair/improvement.

According to Isabela Branch Manager Herman C. Torres, succeeding releases took place at the Branch Office in Brgy. OsmeƱa in Ilagan City. "We are still in the process of inspecting curing barns of beneficiaries prior to release, targeting to release on the first week of November 2017," Torres said.

In Cagayan, Rep. Randolph S. Ting (3rd District, Cagayan), Department of Agriculture (DA) Regional Executive Director Narciso A. Edillo, and other local leaders joined NTA officials headed by Administrator Seares and Atty. Verzosa in personally distributing checks worth P4.85 million to the first batch of beneficiaries comprising 81 tobacco farmers.

The ceremonial release was held at the Organic Building, DA, Regional Office 02 in San Gabriel, Tuguegarao City on September 22.

Meanwhile, the ceremonial release of P5.84 million curing barn assistance for tobacco growers of Abra was held at the Dolores Civic Center in Dolores town on September 25 with 283 farmer beneficiaries.

This was graced by Administrator Seares and local officials of Dolores headed by Mayor Robert Victor G. Seares Jr and Vice Mayor Emelito Cortez.

Before the release of the CBAP assistance, some farmer cooperators of the four provices who were affected by typhoon "Lawin" in October 2016, received calamity aid under the P3.5-million financial assistance from the NTA from April to May this year.

Each of the 709 affected farmers from Pangasinan, Abra, Cagayan and Isabela, received P2,000 for barn repair to help them recover from the damages caused by the typhoon.