As reported by Tobacco Business magazine, the official publication of the Tobacco Plus Expo, Cuban tobacco farmers persevere after being ravished by tropical rains and flooding this season:
Despite the heavy rains brought on by tropical storm Alberto, Cuban tobacco producers are expected to meet their production goals. Cuba endured more than 15 days of intense rains that had a dramatic impact on residents, especially those living in the central and western provinces.
More than 1,300 homes, bridges, infrastructure, electrical and sewage systems were affected by the torrential rains. Eight Cubans also died during the course of the weather event. Besides tobacco, other crops on the island were impacted by the rains and suffered damages including rice, bananas, grains and vegetables. Tobacco, however, remains the island’s most important crop and represents its fourth largest source of income and is Havana’s main export, Xinhua reports.
According to a statement made by Miguel Rodgriguez, vice president of the state-owned Tabacuba, Cuba lost more than 320 tons of tobacco to the rain and flooding. Two million tobacco leaves were damaged by being exposed to so much moisture. Many tobacco producers are now working hard to make up for the damages caused by the rains. The tobacco plants in the field were the most impacted and farmers have been rushing to salvage the leaves from those plants that weren’t completely lost. Workers have been working hard to collect these leaves and to start the drying process. Other farmers are counting on mother nature–in the form of sunshine–to help them continue to plant and harvest tobacco as they normally would.
Factory workers are putting in double the time they normally would to get the country’s premium cigar manufacturing back on track. Many factories were closed for a week as the country recovered from the excessive tropical rains. The biggest buyers of Cuban cigars include Spain, France, and China. Tobacco farmers are now working hard to plant 30,500 hectares of tobacco for the 2018-2019 season.