Cigarette giant’s plans to grow tobacco in new areas

Tobacco Plant

Last week PMFTC (Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation) President Chris Nelson said that they they continue invest money in growing tobacco in Cagayan de Oro, Mindoro and Bohol and they hope to finalize them this year.

The good enough weather in new areas could offer an opportunity to PMFTC to grow tobacco uninterruptedly in the course of the year, compared to their current plantations in North Luzon, he added.

Tobacco is usually a seasonal crop since it is contingent on rainfall. Typically the planting of tobacco happens in September, when there are rains, and harvested in March.

Tobacco Plant

Chris Nelson stated that too much rain can damage tobacco as well as too little rain.

Cagayan de Oro, Mindoro and Bohol, situated in the central and western areas of the Philippines, are protected from the wind that has a tendency to enter through the east, he declared.

The quality of the tobacco leaf as well depends on the climate in these new areas.

Mr. Nelson said that Philippine tobacco falls into the Virginia style which is used as filler because of the climatic conditions. However, the good tobacco harvest will be if they would plant tobacco in places less affected by the storms.

Besides, PMFTC has established drying chambers in Cagayan de Oro, Mindoro and Bohol to help farmers as they are still new to tobacco-growing.

Mr. Nelson stated that the drying chambers can help farmers in storage, drying and curing the tobacco. The process of curing is long and it needs a lot of wood or coal.

The tobacco company supposes that these installations can help attract more farmers to join in tobacco-growing. By-turn, farmers can give PMFTC more neighbouring land, which would make the expansion more achievement-oriented.

Mr. Nelson warned that the measures to increase excise taxes on cigarettes could discourage future vested capital from cigarette manufacturers.

He said that PMFTC is not getting out, but the excise tax reform bill does not represent a good signal on investment.

He added that when they came there, they did not want changes in laws, favors. In 2003, they built a $300-million factory. Since then, they have added another $100 million.

PMFTC regulates more than 90% of the tobacco market.

Early this month The House of Representatives just passed House Bill 5727, proposing a 150-700% rise in excise taxes on tobacco for the next 2 years. The measure will be directed to Senate for further examination once sessions resume in July.

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