Report: Fertilizer Shortage Means Cuba’s Tobacco Harvest Will Be Smaller

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Cuba’s famed Pinar del Río, the country’s most famous tobacco-growing region, will have a lower-than-expected tobacco harvest this year due to a shortage of fertilizer.

Granma, Cuba’s state newspaper, says there could be 13,921 hectares of tobacco plantations, down 17.6% from the 16,373 hectares the country announced in August that would be planted in Pinar del Río, a figure announced again on October 19. 10 at the start of planting. According to the newspaper, the reduction is largely due to a shortage of fertilizer. Cuban officials told Granma that despite the smaller planting area – the newspaper says it will be the smallest in at least a decade – yields of recent crops have been better, which could mean the harvest may not not be so small.

Unfortunately, the question of fertilizers is not the only problem facing tobacco growing in Cuba. Hurricane Ida – which sent strong winds to Pinar del Río in late August – damaged “some 3,000 ha” of nurseries which will now be replanted next month. This means that around 20% of the Pinar del Río crop will be planted outside of the preferred growing window, which should mean lower yields for this tobacco.

All of this comes as retailers and distributors experience unique shortages of Cuban cigars, especially vitolas larger than a robusto. Given the process used to create cigars, a reduced harvest in 2021-22 is likely to make little difference in alleviating or worsening the shortage next year, but given Cuba’s dependence on Pinar del Río, it provides approximately two-thirds of the tobacco grown in Cuba. — Harvesting problems will likely cause future problems.

Charlie Minato

I am publisher and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of halfwheel’s two predecessors. I manage the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I have lived in most parts of the country and am now beginning my second stay in Dallas, TX. I like boxing, headphones, the 24 hours of Le Mans, wearing sweatshirts all year round and gyros. echte liebe.

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