Lombok is known as the second of two regions in Indonesia (with East Java) that produces the highest quality tobacco and most commercially viable commodity, Virginia tobacco. Local Virginia tobacco has made a significant contribution to the economy on both local and national levels, generating state income in the form of cigarette excise tax.
However, following the earthquake in the Lombok area, local tobacco farmers faced uncertainty. The earthquakes damaged thousands of tobacco drying facilities, and with the harvesting season getting nearer, farmers were concerned about processing their harvests properly, affecting quality of the end product.
Soeseno, Chairman of the Indonesia Tobacco Farmers Association (APTI), said "We see the importance of maintaining the existence of local Virginia tobacco in Lombok, especially as this commodity supports both the local and national economy."
APTI estimated that 150 tobacco drying facilities in East Lombok Regency were damaged or even destroyed by the earthquake. In response, APTI made Rp250 million in relief funds available to help East Lombok farmers restore or rebuild tobacco processing facilities.
"APTI believes there is no better way to commemorate the World Tobacco Growers Day this year than by helping out local farmers in East Lombok, to rehabilitate their production facilities," Soeseno said.
"There are 58,515 hectares of tobacco farming land on Lombok Island, with annual production capacity of nearly 40,000 tons," said Soeseno. "However, tobacco supply from West Nusa Tenggara will decrease by around 10% this year, despite the relief."
Zulkieflimansyah, Governor of West Nusa Tenggara, in gratitude to APTI for its aid in rebuilding the tobacco facilities, said "This aid is a very positive way to help local farmers return to tobacco production, in order to maintain economic stability and sustain the welfare of their families."
East Lombok Regency has among the largest tobacco farming areas in the West Nusa Tenggara region. Tobacco farming in East Lombok makes a strong contribution to the income of farmers, the creation of employment, and to the Gross Regional Domestic Product (PDRB).
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Authors: ACN Newswire