Isabela Burley Tobacco In Demand Worldwide
The fertile soil of the Cagayan Valley, nourished by the mighty Cagayan River, and coupled with the humid weather condition resulted in the production of quality burley tobacco that is now sought after by cigarette manufacturers worldwide.
According to the multinational leaf supplier Universal Leaf Philippines Inc. (ULPI), the leaf, which is globally known as Isabela burley, is now considered to be one of the best types of tobacco that is used to manufacture cigarettes.
“The demand for Isabela burley all over the world has been steadily rising over the years,” says ULPI president Winston Uy.
He also credits the farmers in Cagayan Valley for their commitment to produce this type of leaf. “Without them, Isabela burley would not become famous all over the world,” he said.
The National Tobacco Administration (NTA) says that burley production began increasing in 2008, or after years of being in the doldrums due to extreme weather conditions such as droughts and storms.
The damage used to be so extensive that the NTA estimated that some P200 million-worth of tobacco were destroyed several years ago. In Isabela province alone, 26 towns were flooded, displacing more than 4,000 families and destroying millions of pesos’ worth of farm produce.
ULPI, together with the NTA and Philip Morris Fortune Tobaco Company (PMFTC) Inc., immediately provided relief assistance to the farmers and their families so that they could go back planting their cash crop.
PMFTC Inc. President Chris Nelson says “we’ve seen a tremendous growth and improvement in the quality and harvest of home-grown burley following years of support we have extended to the farmers. Our collaboration is finally bearing fruit.”
PMFTC agronomists said good agriculture practices, such as the correct use of fertilizer and pesticides as well use of new farm implements, resulted in the renewed export of Philippine-grown tobacco.
Protection of the environment is also of paramount consideration.
“We will continue to assist the farmers through the use of good agricultural practices as we remain committed together with the NTA to the overall development of the Philippine tobacco industry,” Nelson said.
NTA records show that farmers were able to sell 8.61 million kilos of burley in 2008, valued at P447.5 million. These figures went up the following year, when 13.6 million kilos were harvested, amounting to P918 million.
In 2010, the harvest has already reached 19.4 million kilos, valued at P1.35 billion.
Photo by : jackgruber.photoshelter.com