Climate dictates changes in Cuba's tobacco campaign

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Following on from Nino's update earlier today. 



Climate dictates changes in Cuba's tobacco campaign

Agriculture, and especially tobacco, were the big losers after the abundant rains in November which, on the other hand, favored the filling of the reservoirs.

Cuba Newsroom 


Weather conditions had an impact on the current tobacco campaign.

Photo: Jorge Luis Baños_IPS

Tobacco, one of the most important crops for Cuban exports because it provides the leaves for the well-known cigars, overcomes climatic and material obstacles, trying not to compromise the income demanded by an economy with severe financial restrictions.

Reducing the area dedicated to cultivation in the 2020-2021 campaign, replanting what was lost as a result of weather events, including tropical storm Eta, extending planting until February and extending the use of machinery to about 16 hours, are some strategies to reverse the damage caused by the rains.

According to local media, the weather conditions and the country's financial limitations for the acquisition of some resources led to readjust the planting figures in the western province of Pinar del Río, which contributes more than 70 percent of the tobacco in Cuba.

Of the 19,748 hectares planned there for the season, which began last October 10 and commonly runs through December, only 16,170 hectares would be planted.

Due to the November rains, official reports indicated, more than 57,000 seedbeds were lost in that territory, which represented 55 percent of what was sown since October.

Data offered by the Minister of Agriculture, Gustavo Rodríguez Rollero, showed that a sown area of 1,171 hectares was impacted in the country, of which 584 were totally lost and another 222 received different damages.

In the case of seedbeds, the loss of 189,621 traditional beds was reported, affected beds (88,445); in tobacco tunnels, 21,521 trays lost and 29,539 trays with damage. The total loss of positions amounts to 329 million 126,000.

Harvested mainly in Pinar del Río, in the west, and Sancti Spíritus and Villa Clara in the center, tobacco is one of the most important economic crops in the country, due to its impact on exports, which contribute between 300 and 400 million each year. of freely convertible currency.

Tobacco is one of the most important economic crops in the country, due to its impact on exports.

Photo: Jorge Luis Baños_IPS

In the cradle of tobacco, start over

In Pinar del Río, local media indicated, the watering of seedbeds and the planting of nightshade is accelerated, as there are more than 245,000 beds, with different types and varieties of tobacco, both black and blond.

However, according to data provided by Virginio Morales, an agrotechnics specialist from Tabacuba, in normal times in Pinar del Río some 8,000 hectares would have been planted, but under these conditions they barely accumulate 1,100.

According to him, there have been landslides in the campaign before, but this is the first time that "the situation has been so strong and aggressive," as a result of the consecutive meteorological phenomena in October and November.

Morales exemplified that still on November 18, in the tobacco emporium of San Juan y Martínez, 105 millimeters of rainfall fell.

The specialist highlighted that the strategy foresees speeding up the actions in the traditional seedbeds and in the protected tunnels and in the areas destined for the leaf, making the most of animal traction and machinery, as well as the optimal use of postures.

According to what emerged after tropical storm Eta, the 30,000 tons of nightshade collected in the previous season were not damaged and the beneficiation work is maintained in the 115 selected and 22 mini-collected.

The benefit of the leaf from the previous campaign, Morales reported, was over fulfilled to three percent and it is expected to conclude this work at the end of the year, from the entry of forest resources and attention to the cutting of cujes.

In accordance with the country's priorities, the lands that will not host tobacco seedlings will be used for other crops that do not affect the soils, such as beans, corn, and kidney beans, thus contributing to food sustainability and import substitution.


Not only in Pinar

Although the greatest evils are concentrated in Pinar del Río, as published by the Tabacuba business group on its institutional website on the Internet, as a result of Eta, severe damage was also produced in the eastern and central provinces of the country, where the leaf is also grown. , fundamentally in the lands that were ready for sowing, seedbeds and plantations.

However, the tobacco collected from the previous campaign, protected and saved in the different parts of the process, indicates that at least, for now, there is raw material to hand-twist the famous cigars.

Last year, the mixed company Habanos SA, in charge of the commercialization of hand-twisted products, obtained 531 million dollars in business, with a growth of two percent in relation to the previous year.

Sources of this joint venture, formed in 1994 between Tabacuba and Altadis, of the British Imperial Tobacco Group, during 2019 exceeded the expected export figures by five percent and grew by more than 11 million dollars over 2018, at the same time that Crooked sales increased in the domestic market, the best results in the last 11 years. (2020)



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Wow that is more detailed information than I would have expected.

Not great news but I hope they can recover nicely.

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The 2020 hits just keep coming. Worst year in my lifetime too!

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