LAOAG CITY — The National Tobacco Administration, through its Industrial Research Department-Product Development Division, has been promoting tobacco plants and their alternative uses for food and medicinal use, among others.
Over the years, tobacco plant has been cultivated mainly for its leaves but there is more to this smart crop, Juanito Maloom, chief science research specialist of the NTA, said in an interview Monday.
As part of promoting tobacco by-products, the agency has started collaborating with local government units in tobacco-growing provinces such as Ilocos Norte.
"With the development of other tobacco products, tobacco may still prove to be the crop of the future,” he said.
Among the tobacco by-products that NTA has developed so far are bio-pesticides, ointments and liniments for animals, handmade papers, and novelty items like wall dividers, baskets, hand fans, and wall decors.
Maloom said the by-products are now up for technology transfer and commercialization.
"Being biodegradable, they are particularly appealing alternatives to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, especially during these times of high-level consciousness for environment-friendly technologies, and the fact that synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are very expensive,” he said.
To date, the potential of tobacco as a source of food and feeds are also being explored in support of the government’s food security program, he said. (PNA)