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Cuba: Cut in Tobacco Output Won’t Affect Export Customers

HAVANA – Cuba will meet its tobacco export commitments for 2009-2010 despite a 30 percent cut in production of the leaf, the government said.

That guarantee was offered by the vice president of state-owned Grupo Tabacuba, Osvaldo Encarnacion, in comments to official weekly Trabajadores.

Cuba’s National Statistics Office, or ONE, announced last week that the amount of land planted with tobacco was reduced from 28,200 hectares (69,629 acres) to 19,800 hectares (48,888 acres) due to the severe global recession and an acute financial squeeze on the communist-ruled island.

Encarnacion told Trabajadores the 2009-2010 tobacco harvest is expected to come in at just below 23,000 tons, representing a 10 percent decline from the previous season.

The Caribbean island produces some of the best tobacco in the world and is famous for premium cigar brands such as Montecristo, Cohiba, Partagas and Hoyo de Monterrey, but sales have fallen amid the global economic slowdown.

Cuba is going through one of its worst economic crises in decades thanks to a decline in exports, the rising cost of imports, three devastating hurricanes in 2008, the 47-year-old U.S. economic embargo and the shortcomings of the communist system.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Source: Latin American Herald Tribune

Cuba: Cut in Tobacco Output Won’t Affect Export Customers