Production of Cuban cigars are once again on the rise after falling
victim to smoking bans and the international financial crisis.
10:45PM BST 14 Jun 2011
The dexterous fingers of Cuba's cigar makers rolled out 81.5 million of
the much sought-after smokes last year, compared with 75.4 million in
2009, according to a report released by the National Statistics Office
on its Web page.
Cuba's finest tobacco leaf is grown and cured in westernmost Pinar del
Rio province where the just-concluded harvest produced 25.4 million
leaves, according to local radio reports, compared with the previous
year's 22.4 million leaves.
While the figures are up, they are still well below 2008 when Cuba
produced more than 100 million cigars for export and Pinar del Rio's
tobacco harvest totalled 26 million leaves.
The partial recovery is due largely to growing demand in Asia –
particularly China – where the new rich are keen for the largest and
most expensive cigars, said Gonzalo Fernandez, deputy director of
marketing at Habanos S.A., the worldwide distributor of Cuban cigars.
China has climbed into third place, behind Spain and France, among the
largest markets for Cuban cigars.