Tobacco Farmers Plan to Enlarge Plantation Areas

Published on November 24th, 2011 00:00

Tobacco manufacturer Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc is planning to enlarge its plantation area with additional three thousand hectares in order to raise production by a quarter in the following three years, according to an official.

tobacco leaf

Meanwhile, the company expects to face a 20% increase in revenue for 2011 over year ago data amid improved prices for the main tobacco sorts. “We plan to spend about P300 million for the enlargement of plantations. Our company will also finance additional credit lines,” Winston S. Uy, president of the Universal Leaf Philippines stated in a press conference.

Currently, according to Mr. Uy, the company grows its tobacco on approximately 18,000 hectares in the Ilocos region and in Cagayan Valley. “The enlargement will still be most likely Ilocos and Cagayan regions. However we also may think about other regions. We want to increase tobacco product by 25% in the following three years,” he said. “I hope that Ilocos region and Isabela will receive more investments,” Mr. Uy added.

He also said that the enlargement would also have a need of additional 5,000 farmers, stating that the company produces allows 25,000 jobs at present. “The company’s profit has been increasing in the last three years, so we hope to close the 2011 with about P5.5 billion in revenues. For instance in 2009 our profit grew by 25% and in 2010 by 35%. I suppose that it will rise by 20% in 2011 with about P5.5 billion in revenues,” Mr. Uy said. “The tobacco industry demonstrated good results in the recent years, so I can say that we are a rather developing industry,” he said.

The prices for local dry tobacco rose by fifth to about P62.60 per kilo while the Virginia sort increased by more than a quarter, according to official data. Universal Leaf Philippines was initially Lancaster Philippines, Inc., a tobacco trading company that Mr. Uy and his father purchased when the tobacco industry faced a recession in 1995.

Mr. Uy re-established the company by merging with small farmers in the Ilocos region. After that, the company started supplying tobacco growers with financing, equipment, and other means of support. And already in 2005, in its endeavor to enlarge its export operations, Lancaster Philippines united with American trading partner; Universal Leaf Tobacco, Inc. Being an affiliated company of the Virginia-based tobacco enterprise, Lancaster was called Universal Leaf Philippines.

Equipped with capital resources and greater markets, the joint company procured high-tech tobacco processing facilities and created low-cost, efficient tobacco curing barns.

By Joanna Johnson, Staff Writer. Copyright © 2011 All rights reserved.

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