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.