Cuba to close 2017 cigar harvest with nearly 30,000 tons of tobacco leaves
May 29, 2017 (Havana, Cuba) -- Cuba will conclude its current tobacco harvest with almost 30,000 tons of leaves, which is expected to increase incomes of one of the island's main exports and have a positive impact on its economy.
The state-owned Tabacuba business group reported a "favorable" harvest as all cigar companies in the country fulfilled the plantation process. However, not all of them will complete the scheduled productions.
Gonzalo Rodriguez, agricultural director of Tabacuba, said to local media that the western province of Pinar del Rio, where the best leaves are planted, contributed about 70 percent of the national production and will try to reach 19,000 tons.
"We'll advance on a project to promote tobacco plantations in the eastern and central areas of the island in order to supply the Holguin cigar factory which has a demand of more than 8,000 tons of leaves," he said.
Rodriguez highlighted the "significant" increase in "covered tobacco," which is a method to grow the crop inside a cloth covered house that filters sunlight and retains the heat allowing bigger and thinner leaves.
"These thin leaves collected at these plantations are used to cover the outside layer of premium cigars to give them the finest taste of all," he said.
In addition, he said the island hopes to complete the harvest in mid-July and then start planting seeds for the next tobacco campaign.
Last year, Cuba reached 24,000 tons of leaves during its tobacco harvest, according to official data provided by Tabacuba.
Tabacuba runs 96 cigar factories in the nation, 46 of which are dedicated exclusively to producing cigars for exports and are entirely rolled by hand. This industry employs about 200,000 workers in the island, and the figure rises to 250,000 at the peak of the harvest.
Cigar exports are the fourth source of revenues to Cuba's gross domestic product, which reached 445 million U.S. dollars in 2016. Currently, the main clients of Cuban cigars are customers in Spain, France, China and Germany.