PINAR DEL RÍO.— Despite drought conditions, affecting plantations in the north of the province, Pinar del Río is reporting its best tobacco harvest in 11 years, an accomplishment that joins many others in the province where the country's principal celebration of National Rebellion Day is taking place July 26.
Virginio Morales, who directs the tobacco industry here, told Granma International that, to date, more than 16,000 tons have been collected, and reviews indicate that at least another 3,000 remain in curing houses.
Since the 2005-2006 campaign, the province has not reached 19,000 tons of leaves, Morales explained, "So, this is the largest production since that date."
Among the factors that were decisive, he emphasized in the first place the great effort of farmers, who found ways to take advantage of good weather to surpass projections.
Thanks to this, although 400 hectares of the crop were lost due to a lack of water, the total area harvested matched that which was projected.
Morales added that varieties planted, like the Corojo 2006 and 2012, are more resistant to black shank disease and to drought.
Now that the growing season has ended, he reported that work is focused on processing leaves in the 116 selection centers and 19 micro-centers located throughout the province, where some 4,000 people are currently working.
Soil preparation for the next season has already begun, as well, Morales reported, announcing that 18,700 hectares will be planted, representing an increase of 700 as compared to the 2016-2017 season.
He additionally noted that 68 screen greenhouses have been erected, to protect seedlings destined to be shade grown, to ensure that they are not damaged by rain which could affect the planned timeline.
Pinar del Río's tobacco is considered the world's best, and more than 65% of the nation's total production is grown here.