Mighty Corp: successful 69 years in the tobacco industry

Mighty Corp. (MC), the Philippines’ oldest cigarette maker, recently marked its 69th anniversary, drawing praises and congratulatory messages from some of the country’s leading firms and personalities as it vowed to buy more local tobacco for its expanding product line.
Executive vice president Oscar Barrientos said the company is looking to export local blended and expanded tobacco. “We are working closely with local farmers and our local tobacco suppliers in planning and implementing our expansion programs,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mighty’s contigency is now fully activated to meet the smooth implementation of the new cigarette tax system it drew up as early as six months ago in anticipation of its final approval by the finance department upon the recommendation of the BIR,” Barrientos said.
The BIR has just released Revenue Regulation No. 7-2014 which imposes the affixture of Internal Revenue Stamps on imported and locally-manufactured cigarettes as well as the use of the IRSIS for the ordering, distribution and monitoring of tobacco manufacturers.
The re-launching of the company’s oldest and flagship brands, La Campana Ringing Bell and Alhambra cigarettes, known traditionally as “Matamis” and “Regaliz” blend lines, re-engineered and reblended to cater to today’s consumers, also highlighted MC’s remarkable years in business.
The company, which produces non-premium brands, had earlier launched two types in the premium category: King and Chelsea. These two brands are now categorized in the highest tax bracket for cigarettes.
“We hope to extend the reach of Mighty and strengthen our position as the top Filipino-owned tobacco company in the Philippines,” Barrientos said.
The company was established in 1945 as La Campana Fabrica de Tabacos, Inc. by Wong Chu King and started out with a small cigarette factory in Manila producing native cigarettes known as “matamis.” A second factory was built in Pasong Tamo, Makati in 1948.
A facility for tobacco threshing and redrying was constructed in 1963 in Malolos, Bulacan where the company’s present-day nine-hectare fully integrated manufacturing and processing plant is located.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros celebrated a Holy Mass to commemorate Mighty’s anniversary as well as its primary and tobacco expansion facilities.
“As you gather as one family, I adhere to all of you to contemplate deeper on the face of Jesus Christ and reflect the mission of love,” Bishop Oliveros said.
Archbishop Emeritus of Manila Gaudencio Rosales enjoined Mighty and the Wongchuking family for the services they have extended to many small and large communities all over the country.
“Their social and philantrophic outreach have even gone farther than their products,” he added.
Archbishop of Caceres Rolando Tria Tirona cited Mighty for its growth as a successful company and for extending services through the various socio-economic and religious programs and activities to Filipinos.
“Mighty’s commendable efforts to reach out to people expressed social responsibility that is important to bring about change in our society,” he said.
Bulacan Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado congratulated Mighty on its 69 years of remaining steadfast in its commitment to nation building and seeking solution to the current economic quandary.
“The company’s success didn’t just happen overnight. There had been hard work, diligence and competitive spirit of each member of this company,” the governor said.
His wife, Rep. Ma. Victoria Sy-Alvarado of the 1st district of Bulacan, said: “Mighty’s success is considered phenomenal and inspiring. It first became popular as a producer of native cigarettes but transformed into a major player in the low-priced cigarettes.”
“Not only that. Through the years, Mighty has lived up to its corporate social responsibility by being an active and dedicated partner of the government from the private sector in nation building and development,” she said.
Malolos Mayor Christian Natividad gave a poetic message saying: “It’s doing your job the best you can and being just to your fellow man. Looking forward and thinking high while making labor a brave romance. Success is serving, striving through strain and stress, it’s doing your noblest — that’s success.”
“Mighty has always been a good partner to our city and I am so proud of your success in doing business with us,h he added.
Vice Mayor Jonathan Sy-Alvarado of Lingkod Movement said gas one of your partners in providing public service to our people, I am also one with you in your mission in providing excellence and active participation in the socio-economic activities for the upliftment and development of our community.h
Bulacan Vice Governor Daniel Fernando praised Mighty for contributing to the upliftment and progress of their community and for continuously providing employment for fellow Bulakenyos and participating in socio-economic activities.
“Lead by your standards of excellence as responsible leaders of our society, may your spirit move you to even greater heights,h he said.
Congratulating Mighty, BdO Unibank said: gWe have been a witness to the many achievements the company has attained during its evolution from a niche player into a major contender in the highly competitive cigarette industry. The companyfs prospects are very promising and you can count on us to be your partner in growth.h
The company was renamed Mighty Corp. in 1985 and bought the trademarks of Alhambra Industries in 1993. By 2000, Mightyfs expansion continued all throughout the decade as it purchased and upgraded its production and packing facilities.

 

Mighty Corp working with tobacco farmers in Northern Luzon

All is set for the consultative meeting among the 200 tobacco farmer leaders in Pangasinan, La Union and Ilocos provinces and Mighty Corporation on February 8 in San Fernando, La Union to firm up the partnership and the twin P10-million commitments of the new major player in the cigarette industry.

This was disclosed by Mighty Corp Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos who said the cigarette firm has earlier sought the help of the National Tobacco Administration how to go about their planned purchase of P10-million kilograms tobacco leaves and the multi-pronged P10-million Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for tobacco farmers and their families.

“We are grateful and we are looking forward to the firm commitments of Mighty Corporation 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 Mario Cabasal, president of the National Federation of Tobacco Growers and Cooperatives (NFTGC). Cabasal expressed elation after learning that Mighty Corporation has made commitments to initially buy at least 10 million kilograms of tobacco leaves and to purchase all the excess tobacco leaves that farmers could not sell to other buyers.

Likewise, Cabasal also lauded the latest announcement by Mighty Corporation of the P10-million three-pronged programs to directly help the tobacco farmers that will include the donation of support farm implements like irrigation pumps and tractors, new 200 college scholar grants for the sons of daughters of tobacco farmers and the institutional support for the annual search for outstanding tobacco farmers and cooperatives.

According to Cabasal, thousands of farmers in Pangasinan and the Ilocos provinces have expressed relief that their tobacco leaves will have a sure market this year.

“Now that we are assured of an alternative market, besides other tobacco companies, our members will again be inspired to devote larger areas to the cultivation of Ilocandia’s most important cash crop,” he said.

Planting of the golden leaf started last month and selling the dry leaf often peaks just before the Holy Week.

“With Mighty’s assurance that the company will buy all the unsold tobacco harvested by farmers, we can also be sure that unlike in the past, prices will stay high even after the holiday season, Cabasal said.

Price cut downs on harvests after the Holy Week was an old practice of middlemen from Ilocos Norte to Pangasinan.

 

Mighty Corp assured farmers of brisk tobacco production

Farmers in the Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley  have been assured of  brisk sale of tobacco leaves in 2014 following a  bumper crop.

The assurance was made by  Oscar P. Barrientos, executive vice president of Mighty Corp, amid reports that the company’s share of the domestic market has dramatically risen from  five percent last year to 20 percent this year.

“We have earned our fair share of the market by making quality but affordable cigarettes that were smartly packaged, creatively and ingenuously sold to the mass market. That is the secret of our success in breaking the cigarette monopoly in this country and were mighty proud of our modest success coming from a home-grown and Filipino-owned cigarette company, said Barrientos, a retired judge.

With a bigger share of Mighty Corporation in the market today, we are giving the tobacco farmers a fair shake of our success by offering competitive prices to their crops,” he pointed out.

He stressed that over the years, Mighty has consistently championed the cause of the Filipino tobacco farmers by buying a larger share of the low-grade tobacco leaves at a good prices. This year, they bought even the low-priced tobacco leaves.

The domestic market for cigarettes became a virtual monopoly with over 90 percent of the market share when international tobacco giant Philip Morris acquired majority ownership of its lone competitor, Fortune Tobacco in 2010.

On Mighty Corp and projects for tobacco farmers

Mighty Corp (MC), one of the country’s local producers of low-priced cigarettes, yesterday announced it will buy 10 million kilograms of tobacco products worth millions of pesos from farmers in Northern Luzon and elsewhere in the country.

In an official letter of intent he sent to National Tobacco Administrator Edgardo D. Zaragoza, MC Executive Vice President Oscar P. Barrientos said it is buying tobacco from farmers 100 percent more than the five million kilograms his firm bought in 2013.

“This is to assure our tobacco farmers of our willingness to help in response to the published report of the market leader in the tobacco industry to lessen production this year,” Barrientos, a retired regional trial court judge, said.

The letter of intent, in effect, debunked critics’ allegations that MC has been importing raw materials from foreign countries at low prices and therefore it is no longer buying tobacco from local farmers.

Barrientos said their critics have been resorting to a disinformation campaign using convoluted data in an effort to undermine Mighty’s tremendous increase of its market shares.

MC’s market shares surged to almost 20 percent of the low-priced cigarette brands last year from three percent the previous year, resulting to the payment P8.2 billion in excise taxes.

According to Barrientos, their market shares shot up after the government effectively implemented Republic Act 10352, otherwise known as the Sin Tax Law that leveled the playing field in the multibillion-peso tobacco industry which was controlled by Philip Morris and Fortune Tobacco. The new law that took 14 years to pass and certified as urgent by President Aquino III caused a tremendous migration of smokers from the expensive premium and sub-premium brands to low-priced cigarettes.

It also resulted to some smokers, because of economic reason, to simply quit the vice and thus validated health authorities estimate that the sin tax law would result to the decrease of the number of smokers in the country.

Before the end of 2013, total tax collection by the BIR hit an all time increase of P91.6 billion from P60.4 billion in 2012. Taxes from cigarettes represented 61.6 percent or almost two thirds of all sin tax collection for 11 months of 2013.

Mighty Corp., then a minor player with a measly three percent of the market share with only P500 million in excise tax payments before the sin tax law took effect in 2012, contributed P8.2 billion in tax payments in 2013, discrediting its critics that it had allegedly committed technical smuggling and tax evasion.

Know more about Oscar Barrientos’ career in Mighty Corp

Retired Regional Trial Court Judge OSCAR P. BARRIENTOS has found himself on the other side of the defence as defender of the cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp.

 

As the executive vice president of Mighty Corp., Barrientos also doubles as company spokesman. He has become the face for the low-profile owners of the wholly-owned Filipino cigarette company, who have been doing their business for 68 years quietly and away from the prying eyes of the media and even from competitors.

 

But the former judge, who also leaches marketing and finance, sees his role in Mighty more of a battle in actual grassroot marketing rather than a courtroom drama.

 

Chinese migrant Emmanuel Wong Chu King founded La CampanaFabrica de Tobacos Inc. in 1945 as his way of helping Filipino war victims.

 

At first, Wong Chu King, married to Nelia, a Filipina, did everything from blending the tobacco to working as salesman, delivery man, collector, cashier and promoter of his products. The Company specialized in producing native cigarettes. The iconic La Campana and Magkaibigan were the company’s original brands.

 

In 1985, Mighty Corporation was established and became the American blended Virginia Cigarette Manufacturing Co. In 2001, Mighty entered into a cigarette manufacturing agreement with Sterling Tobacco to produce the latter’s trademarks. In 2004, the company entered into a cigarette manufacturing agreement with the Philip Morris Philippines as the latter brought the trademarks of Sterling Tobacco.

 

The rest is history. What used to be just a simple native cigarette manufacturer has expanded to become not just an industry pioneer but a force to reckon with under one name Mighty Corporation.

 

Barrientos, who joined Mighty Corporation a year ago upon the encouragement of the owners who happened to be good friends of his, can only at least in the best position that this company has to offer and will continue to offer.

 

While Mighty focuses on the non-premium cigarette brand, it does not lose focus on what makes it stick all these years. It has remained faithful to what it does best, producing cigarettes for the Filipinos market content with a 3 percent market share.

 

“Mighty has good taste, good price and good packaging,” stresses Barrientos.

 

While both prices for premium and the non-premium brands were adjusted to account for the increase in excise tax, the non-premium has a lower tax increase and therefore it has lower price hike while the premium brands have to endure with the huge price hike making them more expensive to the ordinary smoker.

 

As prices of cigarettes become more expensive, most smokers can no longer afford the premium cigarette brands so they shift to the non-premium brands benefitting Mighty, which has a total of 23 brands.

 

But Mighty has another big edge: Its clear understanding of the domestic market, which it has been serving well and faithfully for the past 68 years.

 

“We have a very good distribution system focusing in the rural areas. Our distribution system touches system right down to the grassroots,” says Barrientos.

 

In fact, Mighty is very strong in the Zamboanga area. Its premium competitors though have been concentrating in the big cities and their distribution are mostly in big supermarkets.

 

“We understand the market better,” says Barrientos, who finishes his MBA at the Asian Institute of Management.

 

Another unique strategy is the company’s credit line offer to the rural sari-sari stores. This strategy does not only ensure that small stores carry Mighty products, but also augment the poor Filipinos capital to enable them to continue their small business.

 

This has endeared them to the sari-sari store owners, who now prefer Mighty grateful for the lifeline provided to them.

 

According to Barrientos, 70 percent of Filipino smokers buy by the stick, not packs.

 

The company has also tapped the direct selling network to further beef up its market.

Barrientos explained that at the end of the day, the price of a merchandise will redound to the cost of production plus margin.

 

In the case of Mighty, it has never gone overboard in its expenses. Its operation has remained low cost with not much overhead cost.

 

“In the first place, we don’t have expats personnel to pay for. An expat can easily command $10,000 salary a month,” says Barrientos. Maintaining expats is expensive because the employer must also consider they have a lifestyle to keep.

 

All these years, Mighty has remained a low maintenance firm. It holds its headquarters in Makati, along the PasigRiver which also serves as the residence of the company owners. Most traditional Chinese businessmen also reside in a building where they do their business. This lean organization is simple and bereft of the trappings of the high-end offices in Makati. It operates in an old but well-maintained

building.

 

“Our strategy at the plant is to produce low cost but quality cigarettes, but we go for volume because there is a strong demand for our products,” says Barrientos.

 

Its CSR program is mostly providing education to poor but deserving students. Now, it’s scholars are mostly children of tobacco farmers numbering 100 and is expected to reach 500 this year.

 

This scholarship program, which is geared for the tobacco farmers or through the Federation of Tobacco Farmers, has been going on for the past ten years already.

 

Part of its CSR program is to help improve the quality of local tobacco produce so they will not import anymore in the long run.

 

“Why is the imported tobacco has better quality than the locally grown when they come from the same seeds,” says Barrientos.

 

The company also extends assistance to affected families during calamities without any fanfare. Barrientos relates that his father was a chain smoker who could consume three packs a day, but he does not smoke nor his seven other siblings.

 

“But I don’t feel guilty being in this industry,” says Barrientos of his work in the cigarette industry, which is known to cause lung cancer.

 

“The health warning that cigarette is addicting is right although it has no effect to some,” notes Barrientos.

 

His being in the industry does not give him also the license to encourage others to smoke.

 

“I will not encourage anyone to smoke, but let them find their own stick. Parents are only there to guide, although children may not follow them 100 percent,” says Barrientos, who used to play golf until he joined Mighty.

 

“I was supposed to be enjoying my retirement, but I was called to this job, something that I cannot refuse because it is very challenging. Aside from that, one of the owners is a good friend of mine and they treated me well and that’s what they’ve been doing with the rest of the employees,” says

 

Barrientos, who finished law and management from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila and the Philippine Christian University.

 

“This is a family-owned corporation, but the owners are very fair and professional. I enjoy this job, otherwise I should have left already. It’s good to meet new people and become part of this company,” says Barrientos.

 

“I am happy here. Definitely, I am in the right company,” says Barrientos.

Mighty Corp continues to increased its market share

Bulacan-based Mighty Corp. will continue to eat up a slice of market share from rivals as the Wongchuking-owned tobacco firm believes it offers quality but cheaper alternatives to expensive cigarette brands, a company official said.

In a briefing late Thursday, Oscar P. Barrientos, Mighty executive vice-president, said smokers continued to shift from premium brands to cheaper alternatives this year as prices of cigarettes in the domestic market rose due to reformed excise tax law.

“Mighty’s market share is rising because of our very competitive price as well as quality of our cigarettes,” Barrientos told reporters. “Consumers are shifting from premium to low-premium brands after the new excise tax law.”

Barrientos said Mighty’s market share grew from 5 percent in 2012 to between 10 percent and 12 percent last year. The company earlier claimed its market share stood at 20 percent in 2013.

“For this year, we’re targeting to expand it by two percentage points, or 12 percent to 14 percent,” Barriento said. “The country’s tobacco industry is estimated to be more than 100 billion sticks annually.”

Barrientos said the company currently sells its Mighty brand for P26 to P27 a pack, while Marvel brand for P25 to P26 per pack, both higher by P5 compared with last year’s retail price, reflecting the P5 increase in excise tax rate this year.

However, some retailers sell Mighty brand at P23 per pack, while Marvel brand P18.4 per pack.

Barrientos, meanwhile, noted a slight decline in number of adult-smokers in 2013 based on the report of the Department of Health (DOH).

But despite the decline in smokers’ population, Barriento said Mighty is still positioning for the forthcoming unitary excise tax rate of P26 per cigarette packet by 2017.

Barrientos said Mighty expects demand for low-premium cigarette brands will decline in 2017, while premium brands may regain their popularity in the next three-years.

“That’s why we launched our premium brands King and Chelsea in a bid to firm up our position.” the company executive said. Mighty is currently the country’s second largest cigarette firm in terms of market share, next to PMFTC Inc.

Barrientos, meanwhile, just shrugged off Marlboro-maker and Lucio Tan’s foreign partner, Philip Morris International (PMI), accusations against Mighty of tax dodging.

“Those are baseless accusations by Philip Morris,” Barrientos said “But we’re ready to face investigations by authorities. Our factory is open to any inspection by Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs.”

Barrientos also explained the company managed to lower its operational cost as it does not pay royalty to foreign headquarters, like in the case of PMFTC, and has no foreign consultants or employees.

He, meanwhile, revealed that Mighty’s manufacturing cost of cigarette per packet declined last year from 2012 as the company expands its market share.

“Our cost per pack of cigarette is around P3.5 to P4 [excluding taxes], this is cheaper than in 2012 when our market share was small. We managed to reduce the cost as Mighty expands market share due to economies of scale,” Barrientos explained.

Mighty Corp paid up 8 billion pesos for their excise tax

 

The excise tax paid by a  cigarette company made a quantum leap from P300 million in 2012 to at least P8 billion for the whole year of 2013, according to data from the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

This was announced by  Oscar Barrientos, executive vice president of Mighty Corp., who added that “the tax we paid for the year 2013 just past reflects the jump in our market share and our fair share in the increased taxes on “sin” products.

Barrientos, a retired  regional trial court judge, said the facts should put to rest false accusations that Mighty Corporation has not been paying its correct taxes.

He further pointed out that despite charges in the news media and by some members of Congress against the company, no case has been filed in court.

In fact, Barrientos pointed out, the BIR and the Bureau of Customs have cleared his company of any tax deficiency until February of this year.

The company paid P300 million in 2012, the former judge explained, when its share of the local market of cigarette was a measly three percent. This share shot up since the government put into effect Republic Act 10352, otherwise known as the new sin tax law.

The law has synchronized a five-year adjustment of taxes on cigarettes for it to become a uniform P30 per pack in five years covering all brands.

Records of the Bureau of Internal Revenue   had shown that excise taxes from both cigarettes and alcohol products increased by 81.5 percent despite a decline in the number of sticks sold.

Total tax take from January to November hit an all-time high of P91.6 billion from P60.4 billion in 2012.

Taxes from cigarettes represented 61.6 percent or almost two thirds of sin tax collections for 11 months.

Mighty Corp., which until the year 2012, was a minor player, pitched in more than P8 billion of the excise tax, not to mention the income tax the company will have to pay for the same year come deadline time.

Newest premium brand, King and Chelsea by Mighty Corp

 

Expect competition in the local tobacco industry to heat up.

Mighty Corp., the oldest Filipino-owned tobacco company, has launched its premium brands King and Chelsea in a bid to firm up its position as the country’s second-biggest cigarette manufacturer.

“Our decision to enter the premium brand segment is part of the company’s thrust to reposition our brands and expand our reach into all segments of the market,” Oscar P. Barrientos, Mighty executive vice president, said.

“We hope to extend the reach of Mighty Corp. and strengthen our position as the top Filipino-owned tobacco company in the Philippines,” Barrientos added.

He said that both brands are premium in terms of smoke character. “But from the packaging and cigarette design, King is more traditional while Chelsea radiates unconventionality,” he explained.

The two premium brands are blended with the finest tobacco grades to give off a balanced taste and aroma. Both come in full flavor king size, lights king size and menthol 100s or a total of six different variants.

“One of our advantages is the smell, flavor and aromatic taste of our cigarettes that are also exceptionally smooth, mellow and attractively packaged,” Barrientos, a retired RTC judge, said.

Mighty’s premium brands will be categorized in the highest tax bracket for cigarettes.

“Our decision to expand our product lines is just part of our vision to become a major player in the market and show what a Filipino company can do,” Barrientos said.

The company was established in 1945 by businessman Wong Chu King with a small factory in Manila producing native cigarettes known as “Matamis.”

The company was renamed Mighty Corp. in 1985 and bought the trademarks of Alhambra Industries in 1993. It now operates a nine-hectare fully integrated manufacturing and processing plant in Malolos, Bulacan.

Mighty Corp. was able to build up its market share through an aggressive marketing push and heavy investments in research, development and production.

Mighty Corp launched their premium brands King and Chelsea

Expect competition in the local tobacco industry to heat up.

Mighty Corp., the oldest Filipino-owned tobacco company, has launched its premium brands King and Chelsea in a bid to firm up its position as the country’s second-biggest cigarette manufacturer.

“Our decision to enter the premium brand segment is part of the company’s thrust to reposition our brands and expand our reach into all segments of the market,” Oscar P. Barrientos, Mighty executive vice president, said.

“We hope to extend the reach of Mighty Corp. and strengthen our position as the top Filipino-owned tobacco company in the Philippines,” Barrientos added.

He said that both brands are premium in terms of smoke character. “But from the packaging and cigarette design, King is more traditional while Chelsea radiates unconventionality,” he explained.

The two premium brands are blended with the finest tobacco grades to give off a balanced taste and aroma. Both come in full flavor king size, lights king size and menthol 100s or a total of six different variants.

“One of our advantages is the smell, flavor and aromatic taste of our cigarettes that are also exceptionally smooth, mellow and attractively packaged,” Barrientos, a retired RTC judge, said.

Mighty’s premium brands will be categorized in the highest tax bracket for cigarettes.

“Our decision to expand our product lines is just part of our vision to become a major player in the market and show what a Filipino company can do,” Barrientos said.

The company was established in 1945 by businessman Wong Chu King with a small factory in Manila producing native cigarettes known as “Matamis.”

The company was renamed Mighty Corp. in 1985 and bought the trademarks of Alhambra Industries in 1993. It now operates a nine-hectare fully integrated manufacturing and processing plant in Malolos, Bulacan.

Mighty Corp. was able to build up its market share through an aggressive marketing push and heavy investments in research, development and production

Mighty Corp promoted use of organic pesticides

Tobacco, used in the manufacture of cigarettes, can also be used as an organic pesticide against insects as aphids, leaf rollers and stem borers. It is an even more effective and much safer pesticide than chemical-based ones, which destroy soil productivity and harm the environment.

Filipino cigarette manufacturer Mighty Corp (MC) plans to develop and promote the alternative use for tobacco, to help reduce Filipino farmers’ reliance on chemical-based pesticides, increase tobacco farmers’ income, and protect the environment.

Oscar Barrientos, MC executive vice president and spokesman, said the move was part of the company’s corporate social responsibility thrust. He noted that a small but growing number of Filipino farmers were shifting from chemical-based to organic pesticides, or a combination of the two. “This trend should be encouraged,” he added.

The company coordinating with key agencies as National Tobacco Administration (NTA), Fertilizer and Pesticide Authority (FPA) of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and University of the Philippines in Los Baños, Laguna (UPLB) in this effort.

Filipino farmers make up 11.55 million of the country’s 38.6-million-member labor force and contribute 20 percent of its gross domestic product. Insects and other pests have adversely affected farmers’ production of main agricultural crops, including rice, corn, coconuts, sugarcane, bananas, pineapples, coffee, mangoes and abaca. Also affected are secondary crops like peanuts, cassava, sweet potatoes, garlic, onions, cabbages, eggplants, calamansi, rubber, and cotton. Nicotine from tobacco has been used on crops as a natural insecticide that does not have the health and environmental risks of chemical-based pesticides.