Tobacco is one of the major crops for the Philippine economy especially in the northern Luzon region. Increased local taxes on tobacco products have reduced overall production volumes in recent years, however the export of tobacco is an important contributor to the country’s overall GDP. Philippine Exports of tobacco were about US$120 Million in 2020.
In September 2020 Tarssus XP was registered in the Philippines for use in Tobacco for the control of whiteflies, thrips and aphids and was included in the Philippine National Tobacco Administration Tobacco Production Manual for 2020-21. It is one of the recommended Crop Protection Agents for the vegetative and early maturity stages (35-50 DAT) and shows very comparable control of the target insects to the standard product being used, Abamectin.
The control of these pests is important because they are believed to be vectors for tobacco leaf curl virus and tobacco mosaic virus.
According to the Cooperation Centre for Scientific Research Relative to Tobacco (CORESTA), Abamectin technical grade has been identified as a Highly Hazardous Pesticide (HHP) based on the WHO Classification of Pesticides by Hazard (Class 1b, Highly Hazardous).
“Tobacco industry stewardship programmes already work to comply with Good Agricultural Practices in tobacco production. Additional emphasis on monitoring the use of HHPs will facilitate continued movement toward reduction and eventual elimination and replacement with CPAs not classified as HHPs, which will have an impact throughout the entire supply chain.”
(Coresta Guide No.27, Identification and Elimination of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in Leaf Tobacco Production)
The tobacco industry internationally is now broadly moving towards the experience of enjoying tobacco through heating rather than through burning. Burning tobacco produces undesirable ash, tars, smoke, and smells while heating tobacco delivers the same satisfying experience of cigarette smoking without these undesirable elements.
It would therefore seem desirable that the tobacco used in such devices should be as free from unwanted contaminants such as pesticides as possible. The use of zero-residue pest control agents such as Tarssus XP would enable the production of tobacco leaves with reduced pesticide residue levels.