Cuba Produces 260 Million Rolled Cigars a Year
HAVANA, Mar 1 (PL) The Cuban tobacco industry produces 260 million hand-rolled cigars a year with a strong impact on the international market, official sources reported here.

The president of the Tobacco Business Group of Cuba (Tabacuba), Justo Luis Fuentes, and his first vice president, Miguel Vladimir Rodriguez, certified to the press a boom in this sector and the jealous care for cigars’ top quality.

Of those 260 million cigars, 93.9 million are exported and the rest is for national consumption. Export sales in 2018 produced 260 million dollars and net income to the country exceeded 250 million dollars.

In addition, sources said, 150 million cigars are machine-manufactured here, of which 91 percent is for export.

The Cuban tobacco industry also produces 12.5 billion cigarettes (eight billion for local consumption), four billion for the domestic market in foreign currency and 448 million for export.

The finished production plans of this sector to date were fulfilled 100 percent for the purposes of export, of which for national consumption, 106 percent, machine-made 114 percent and cigarettes reached 120 percent. A relevant element in this industry is the investment plan whose most important project is carried out in the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM) with a joint venture formed with the Brazilian company Souza Cruz.

The Brazilian investment is of 116 million dollars and it is expected to start operating by the end of this year. That industry plans to be officially inaugurated on April 21, 2020, when the Cuban-Brazilian joint venture marks its 25th anniversary.

Officials added that the contract will be extended for another 40 years, due to the success of its performance.

Tabacuba started on July 31, 2000, as the country’s only economic organization, which fully directs tobacco activity in all phases of the production chain.

This group covers production, research, seeds, agricultural work, pre-industry, industry and national and international marketing. For these purposes, it has 40 state-owned companies. Tabacuba sponsors three joint ventures (Habanos S.A., International Cubana de Tabacos S.A. and Brascuba Cigarrillos S.A.), which participate through the Tabagest S.A.

They said the Cuban agricultural system includes 26 state units, of them 22 tobacco companies, 35 Basic Units of Cooperative Production (UBPC), of which 15 are tobacco companies, and 181 Cooperatives of Agricultural Production (CPA), with 125 tobacco companies.

They added to the list 785 Cooperatives of Credit and Services (CCS), of them 453 tobacco companies, and 18 thousand producers.

Cuba has 27 premium or hand-rolled cigar brands and 10 machine-made brands with more than 40 references in the last mentioned case.

The workforce of the tobacco industry is composed of 40,000 workers in the state sector, of which 26,993 women, and 34,744 workers in the cooperative sector (5,964 women).