Tobacco is not only for smoking but this versatile crop has other beneficial uses and industrial products which could generate employment and livelihood. According to Administrator Edgardo Zaragoza of the National Tobacco Administration (NTA), the environment-friendly tobacco dust was proven to be an effective “molluscicide” against snails and other fishpond pests without any residue in fish harvests.
“This organic pesticide will not harm the environment but it will boost the aquaculture program of the government,” Zaragoza stressed. Also, the tobacco dust will enhance the growth of the “lablab,” a pond fishfood.
Based on the findings of the NTA Research Center in Batac City, the tobacco virgin pulp from tobacco stalks is needed for the manufacture of handmade and commercial paper, he said.
Even during the term of former NTA Administrator Carlitos Encarnacion, the agency’s researchers have formulated tobacco extract concentrates that are helpful against sucking insects that damage vegetables and mango fruits.
Rex Antonio Teoxon, deputy administrator for operations of NTA, bared that the organic concentrate is effective against pests found in broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, eggplants, okra, sitao, watermelon, and ornamentals.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) is batting for the application of organic farming to improve farm profitability as well as protect the environment because vegetables harvested in many areas in the country have high pesticide residue level due to wide spread use of toxic chemical pesticides.
The Deputy Administrator also reported that another discovery from the crop is ethanol, the alcohol extracted from tobacco which was found to have up to 92 percent purity for biofuel especially now that the uncontrolled oil price adjustments are triggering grave impact on the power, water, and telecommunications sectors.
The NTA researchers discovered that the ethanol content holds great promise for the country’s biofuel requirements, Teoxon added.
The NTA, in coordination with the Cottage Industry Technology Center, also identified cottage industry items from tobacco like paper/gift bags, baskets, belts, floor tiles, lampshades, and particle and panel boards.