Cuba reduces tobacco planting by 10% this season due to lack of supplies

This year's tobacco campaign "in better conditions" to plant 22 thousand hectares

HAVANA, Dec 26 (EFE)  Cuba is going to reduce the tobacco planting area by about 10% in the 2021-2022 season due to lack of fertilizers and other inputs necessary for the cultivation of this plant, the main export agricultural country.

As reported this Sunday by the official newspaper “Granma”, the economic situation has led to not planting 2,450 hectares of the 25,000 initially planned throughout the country for tobacco production this season.

The measure has been taken in the western province of Pinar del Río, but it has national repercussions as this is the one with the highest tobacco production in the entire country since it usually contributes around 65% of total production. Of the 16,373 hectares initially planned in this region, it is expected to finally plant 13,921 hectares.

This is the smallest area dedicated to tobacco production in Pinar del Río in the last decade, according to “Granma”, the official organ of the Communist Party of Cuba (PCC, the only legal one).

The Pinar del Río Agriculture delegation explained to this newspaper that the fertile plains that historically have provided higher-quality leaves and registered better yields have been prioritized.

Among them are the 760 hectares of tobacco covered -with cloth- and also the 310 of the Virginia tobacco project, whose production will go to a modern cigarette factory located in the Mariel Special (economic) Development Zone (ZEDM).

At the same time, the rains from Hurricane Ida last August and resource constraints have forced the planting of some 3,000 hectares to be delayed until January, out of the optimal stage.

The tobacco industry represents the fourth sector that contributes the most income to Cuba’s gross domestic product, and export sales reached 507 million dollars in 2020, according to data from the Spanish-Cuban company Habanos, which markets exclusive brands of cigars. of the Caribbean country.

The sector employs some 200,000 workers on the island, rising to 250,000 at the peak of the harvest.

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