All-Filipino cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp (MC) yesterday said it is buying more tobacco leaves and helping three million tobacco farmers and their dependents increase their yield in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.
Mighty Corp. Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos said that as the company’s share of the domestic market dramatically increases from a minimal five percent in 2012 to 20 percent of the local market for cigarettes in 2013, they want to help to millions of tobacco farmers whose lives are dependent on the tobacco industry.
“We have earned our fair share of the market by making affordable cigarettes sold to the mass market. We’re proud of our modest success coming from a home-grown and Filipino-owned cigarette company,” said Barrientos, who is also MC’s spokesperson. “With a bigger share of Mighty Corp. in the market today, we are giving the tobacco farmers a fair share of our success by offering competitive prices to their crops,” said Barrientos, a retired judge.
He stressed that over the years, Mighty Corp. has championed the cause of the Filipino tobacco farmers by buying a larger share of the low-grade tobacco leaves at good prices. “Last year, we have bought even the low-priced tobacco leaves. Had Mighty Corp. not done that, it would have created a problem for tobacco farmers,” he claimed. “We are happy to offer better prices to tobacco farmers and are willing to tie-up with the Department of Agriculture and the National Tobacco Administration to cement our partnership with the farmers.”
Barrientos claimed it is not only the tobacco farmers who benefit from Mighty’s growth but the whole country as well through the company’s payment of taxes from the sale of cigarettes. “Our contribution is in the form of taxes, which helps in the development of the country. We also employed more factory workers. Now, we have more than 2,000,” he said.
Barrientos said with bigger contribution, Mighty Corp. is also expanding its corporate social responsibility projects to help tobacco cooperatives increase their production. “As far as CSR is concerned, we will have irrigation pumps in their area and provide mini tractors. This will come in the form of grant. We will have scholarship grants,” he said. Barrientos said Mighty Corp. has a long-term plan to further improve its market share and help hundreds of thousands of tobacco leaf growers’ workers.