Organized tobacco farmers in Northern Luzon signed over the weekend an agreement with a local cigarette manufacturer to jointly pursue projects designed to uplift the lives of farming families under the theme, “Sama-sama Tayong Pilipino sa Pagyabong ng Industriya ng Tabako.”

The partnership was sealed by top Mighty Corp President Edilberto P. Adan and Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos with Mario Cabasal, head of the National Federation of Tobacco Farmers and Cooperatives, Inc. (NAFTAC) at a hotel in Bauang, La Union last Saturday.

HAND TRACTORS FOR EASY FARMING — A woman, representing a farming family in the North, checks one of the 16 hand tractors given by Mighty Corporation to tobacco farmers last Saturday in a simple ceremony held at a hotel in Bauang, La Union. (Freddie G. Lazaro)

A consultative meeting was held between Mighty Corp. executives and 200 tobacco farmer-leaders in Pangasinan, La Union, Abra and the Ilocos provinces in which the firm announced a pledge for a P10-million fund for three-pronged programs that will help tobacco farmers produce better quality tobacco.

The program includes the donation of support farm implements like irrigation pumps and tractors, sponsoring new 100 college scholar grants for the sons and daughters of tobacco farmers and the institutional support for the annual search for outstanding tobacco farmers and cooperatives.

“We are happy that  Mighty Corporation has stood firm on its commitments to help the 65,000 strong tobacco farmers in the Philippines with their pronouncements this year to purchase 10-million kilograms of tobacco leaves and the P10-million outreach projects for tobacco farmers,” said Cabasal after the agreement was signed by the new partners.

The meeting was highlighted by Mighty executives, through its Wong Chu King Foundation, Inc., turning over 16 units of hand tractors worth P2.5 million and 90 units of water pumps worth P1.1 million to chapter delegations from the seven tobacco-producing provinces in Northern Luzon.

“This is a big help to tobacco farmers,” said Cabasal, who expressed elation over Mighty Corporation’s commitments to initially buy at least 10 million kilograms of tobacco leaves.

The federation’s Ilocos Norte chapter got two tractors and 12 water pumps; Ilocos Sur Bantay chapter – two tractors and three water pumps; Ilocos Sur-Candon Chapter – 2 tractors and 20 water pumps; La Union Chapter – 2 tractors and 14 water pumps; Abra Chapter – 2 tractors and 11 water pumps; Pangasinan Chapter – 2 tractors and 13 water pumps; Cagayan Chapter – 2 tractors and 5 water pumps; and the Isabela Chapter – 2 tractors and 5 water pumps.