Tobacco farmers struggle as prices dip, taxes rise

>> Monday, March 6, 2017

By Mar T. Supnad

SANTIAGO, Ilocos Sur — The multi -billion tobacco industry, which earns the government tens of billions of pesos yearly, will die as prices of Virginia tobacco decline in the past years and more taxes are imposed.
Virginia tobacco farmers in the North bared this decrying what they said was government neglect and lack of support for the industry.
“I did not plant virginia tobacco anymore on my more than 10 hectares this season due to very poor prices for the last two years,” said Mayor Josefino Miranda, a tobacco farmer for more than 40 years.
Miranda said that because of government neglect, tobacco farmers are deprived of their income and livelihood.
Farmers here claimed about 20 percent of the land area in the town was hot planted this year with Virginia Tobacco due to the fear of low prices of the crop.
This year the farmers shifted to corn, although it means a lower income compared to tobacco products.
Miranda said dropping tobacco prices have prevented farmers from planting this year. He said, however that half of the land in the eastern part of this town were planted with tobacco this year. “Adda latta met nagmulat tabtabako dita daya ta mangnamnama da nga adda presyo nat bassit ita,” (There are still farmers who planted tobacco along the Eastern side of our town, hoping there will be good prices this year),” Miranda said.
The government last year earned more than P100 billion from the tobacco industry as it continues to impose the so-called “sin taxes.”
Lawmakers are divided over the imposition of two kinds of taxes: The two-tier scheme, favored by farmers, and the unitary taxes.
House Bill Number 4144 aims to block the full implementation of Republic Act No. 10251, the landmark Sin Tax Reform Law of 2012 passed under the Aquino administration.
The measure calls for a unitary tax rate of P30 for all cigarette packs – regardless of price – by 2017.
Farmers consider the bill as anti-tobacco and warn that it would probably kill the tobacco industry.
“If the unitary tax is implemented, no more tobacco traders would probably buy a low-grade tobacco leaves being produced by our local tobacco growers because the cigarette manufacturers would probably cease to produce local class cigars,” Mario Cabasal, who represented the 55,000 tobacco farmers nationwide as president of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers Association and Cooperatives (NAFTAC), said earlier.


  © Blogger templates Palm by 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics