2013 will forever be remembered as the year that super typhoon Yolanda brought great damage to lives, crops and infrastructures to major parts of the southern Philippines in the month of November.
This overshadowed other calamities like the earthquakes in Cebu and Bohol and other strong typhoons in Luzon. For instance, are you aware that typhoon Odette’s damage in Ilocos Norte was P126 millions? That’s quite a huge loss for a province that anchors its economy in its agricultural industry.
The good news is more farmers in Pangasinan, Ilocos provinces, and the Cagayan Valley region are seen to increase their incomes this year after a new major player in the tobacco industry will be buying more tobacco leaves.
Mighty Corp. Inc., a Philippine tob*cco company owned by the Wongchuking family, assured the the farmers that as a true competition can now happen in the tobacco industry with prices being dictated in the past by a monopoly imposed by the merger of the two giants in domestic cigarette manufacturing.
Ernesto Calindas, President of the National Federation of Tobacco Growers and Cooperatives Inc, said that it was a welcome development for the farmers in Regions 1 and 2.
In was reported that in previous year, the cigarette industry in the country had only one outlet for Virginia and burley tobacco leaves used for cigarette manufacturing, and another buyer for export-quality leaves. Also, prices were fixed at a range of P45 a kilo for the low-end leaves to P80 for top quality leaves.
Calindas is very hopefull and said, “This time we have greater assurance and more reasonable pricing will be now expected with Mighty Corporation’s announcement that it will buy more tobacco leaves in 2014.
Mighty Corporation hogged the limelight recently when established competitors asked for a congressional investigation over its sudden rise as a tobacco player, eating up the markets of previously low-priced cigarettes with brands identified with Philippine Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation (PMFTC).
From a minimal five percent share of the domestic market, Mighty Corporation cigarettes zoomed to corner 20 percent in less than a year since the new tobacco sin tax took into effect in 2013.
Let’s just hope that this commendable initiative by Mighty will not be obstructed by other groups with vested interest and avoid this to just go up in smoke.