THE NATIONAL Tobacco Administration (NTA) released its five-year development program centered on increasing the productivity of the tobacco industry.

In Rosales, Pangasinan on June 10 and 11, the NTA presented its ‘Sustainable Tobacco Enhancement Program’ (STEP), a program for improving the industry and enhancing farmer income.

NTA OIC Administrator Roberto R. Bonoan said that the meeting was focused on the three major components of tobacco block farming: farm mechanization, irrigation systems, and fuelwood or bamboo production.

The NTA also presented updates on its two projects, the Tobacco Farm Mechanization Program and a program that focuses on renewable fuelwood.

In addition, the NTA spoke with representatives of major tobacco leaf buying firms such as Universal Leaf Philippines, Inc. and Trans-Manila, Inc. for additional comment.

In observance of health and quarantine procedures, the NTA said the meeting was limited to 10 participants per day.

“We will continue our consultation with other stakeholders and partners before we finalize the road map for implementation in this coming crop year,” Mr. Bonoan said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave