THE National Tobacco Administration (NTA) said it is hoping to develop a beef cattle industry among tobacco growers with a P10-million program that will provide breeding animals to prospective cattle raisers.

NTA Administrator Robert Victor G. Seares, Jr. said 250 ready-to-breed Brahman heifers will be distributed to selected tobacco growers in Abra, Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, Pangasinan, Isabela, and Cagayan under the Beef Cattle Production Assistance Project.

“The project will help jumpstart the beef cattle industry in the tobacco-growing provinces and will also forward the vision of advancing food sufficiency,” Mr. Seares said.

Eligible for the program are NTA-registered tobacco farmers who are also on the Registry System for the Basic Sector in Agriculture and Fisheries.

Applicants will be required to undergo training and have sufficient space and grazing area with access to equipment, labor, supplementary feed, and clean water. The NTA will train participants in organic feed production and developing grazing land.

The program will provide artificial insemination services, animal health services, and technical support.

According to the NTA, farmers will need to surrender two one-year-old cows from the first and third batches of offspring within a maximum of six years.

“The first offspring is the repayment which is to be loaned out immediately to the next-in-line farmer cooperator, and the third offspring (represents) the second repayment, to be sold to raise income of the agency to recover its investment,” the NTA said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave