MANILA, Philippines—The fertile soil of Cagayan Valley, nourished by the mighty Cagayan River, resulted in the production of quality burley tobacco that is now sought after by cigarette manufacturers worldwide.
In a statement by multinational leaf supplier Universal Leaf Philippines Inc. (Ulpi), the leaf, globally known as Isabela burley, is now considered to be one of the best types of tobacco for cigarette manufacturing.
“The demand for Isabela burley all over the world has been steadily rising over the years,” the statement quoted Ulpi president Winston Uy as saying.
He also credits 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) said 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.
The statement quoted Chris Nelson, president of PMFTC Inc., one of the biggest tobacco manufacturers in the world, said there has been “tremendous growth and improvement and quality and harvest of home-grown burley.”
PMFTC agronomists said good agriculture practices, such as the correct use of fertilizer and pesticides and use of new farm implements, resulted in the renewed export of Philippine-grown tobacco.