EFE / via 14ymedio, Havana, 18 January 2018 — The intense rains in Cuba in recent months have forced the island’s farmers to extend until February the sowing of tobacco for the 2017-2018 season. During the season, they plan to sow over 73,000 acres in tobacco, the raw material of the famous Havana cigars.
Rainfall damaged nearly 1,500 acres already planted and several areas used as seedbeds, causing delays that have led to the extension of the plan’s target dates, according to the head of the state group Tabacuba, Gonzalo Rodríguez, speaking to the official news agency Prensa Latina.
Rodríguez insisted, however, that the “situation is encouraging and the producers are optimistic,” having already planted more than 64,000 acres. The current season’s sowing of the leaf began last October.
Tobacco is the fourth largest contributor to the country’s gross domestic product; it accounted for some 445 million dollars in 2016 from the sales of the Cuban-Spanish joint venture, Habanos.
With around 65% of the country’s production, the Vueltabajo zone in the province of Pinar del Río is the largest supplier of the leaf in the country. The central territories of Sancti Spiritus and Villa Clara also have large plantings of tobacco.
In 2018, Cuban tobacco farmers hope to deliver more than 32,000 tons of leaves to the cigarette and cigar industry, one of Cuba’s major sources of exports.
The intense rains in the last three months have affected other agricultural sectors on the island as well, including damaging 70% of the cane plantations destined for the sugar harvest now underway.
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