ESTATE CROPS NEWS – Currently, Virginia’s tobacco area is around 46,200 hectares with a total production of 164,000 tons. The amount of production is not sufficient to meet industrial needs, so the shortfall needs to be imported. In 2011 – 2017, Virginia’s tobacco imports averaged 92,540 tonnes per year. The additional area for 6 years (2019 – 2024) is projected to be 34,710 ha to produce a total Virginia tobacco production of 67,863 tons. This amount of production can reduce as much as 73% of the average total imports, thereby saving the country’s foreign exchange. However, the expansion of the area has not yet been carried out because the projected area expansion has not been socialized.
Extensification (expansion) of the planted area
Land suitability maps have been produced for Virginia tobacco in Bojonegoro, East Lombok, Central Lombok, and West Lombok Regencies. In Bojonegoro Regency, the actual land suitability of tobacco with S2 class is 15,657 hectares and S3 class is more than 50,000 hectares. In Lombok, the suitability of land for tobacco for the S1 class is 9,055 hectares, the S2 class covers 42,000 hectares and the S3 class covers 116,660 hectares. The land suitability distribution map can be used as a basis for expanding Virginia’s tobacco plantation areas to reduce imports. Of course, the expansion of the area needs to be preceded by a study of current land use, quality suitability and economic feasibility.
The average productivity of Virginia tobacco is still 1.3 tonnes / ha, lower than its potential of 2 tonnes / ha. The causes of low productivity of Virginia tobacco are low variety and soil fertility, suboptimal land management, pest and disease attacks, and lack of proper pruning technology. Technological innovation that combines superior varieties, balanced fertilization and pruning has succeeded in increasing the productivity and quality of Virginia tobacco in Bojonegoro and Bondowoso (East Java), Buleleng (Bali), and East Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara). In East Lombok Regency, high yielding varieties (Coker 176 and NC297) fertilized with 100 kg / ha NPKMg (15: 9: 12: 2) produce tobacco with productivity 2.5 – 2.6 tonnes / ha, nicotine content 3.68 – 4.76% and Chlorine content <1%. (Anjas)