KARACHI: Philip Morris (Pakistan) Limited (PMPKL) has set a new record for Pakistan’s tobacco sector by exporting around 7.3 million kilograms of tobacco in 2017, an increase of more than 400 per cent versus the previous year, made possible by focusing on sustainable tobacco production and cost competitiveness, said an official statement.
In 2017, PMPKL accounted for more than 80 per cent of Pakistan’s overall tobacco export volume of 8.7 million kilograms. Tobacco export destinations included Asia, Europe and Africa this year.
According to Pakistan Tobacco Board (PTB) figures, growth in Philip Morris exports significantly outpaced the overall growth of exports across the tobacco industry. In 2016, the ministry of commerce recognised Philip Morris (Pakistan) with the ‘Best Exporter’ award and gave recognition of its impressive tobacco exports performance and role in improving Pakistan’s economy.
Philip Morris tobacco exports contributed an estimated $ 18 million to Pakistan’s foreign currency export earnings, helping to mitigate a wider national trade deficit of around $ 12 billion during July-October, 2017, according to the data released by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The tobacco crop offers enormous potential for exports but there is a dire need to overcome structural and policy issues prevalent in the sector.
The significant increase in tobacco exports by PMPKL follows persistent efforts by the company over the past few years to improve crop quality and promote Sustainable Tobacco Production (STP) in Pakistan.
PMPKL’s STP program applies an integrated approach to supporting farmers through provision of imported hybrid seed for higher and better quality yield, curing barn upgrades, balanced fertilizers and farm mechanization. The STP program also encourages limiting the use of recommended chemical pesticides and reducing consumption of fuelwood to increase farmers’ profitability, while at the same time contributing to environmental goals through reforestation and lower carbon emissions.
“These results demonstrate our strong commitment to contributing to Pakistan’s economy and making a positive impact in the country overall”, said PMPKL Managing Director Alexander Reisch. He added, “We will continue to work with Pakistan’s valued tobacco farmers to implement the STP programme and facilitate crop buying process through our recently established mega buying station. Our goal is to support sustainable farming, create better livelihood opportunities and fight child labour on tobacco farms.”
Appreciating PMPKL’s efforts in boosting tobacco exports from Pakistan, PTB Chairman Syed Sohail Altaf, said that “this historic achievement highlights the focus of Philip Morris (Pakistan) on maintaining quality and price competitiveness for increased exports.” He added, “PTB will continue to collaborate with all stakeholders for the welfare of tobacco growing community and to strengthen Pakistan’s economy through higher tobacco exports in coming years.”