Cuba remains the leader in the international market for hand-rolled cigars, continuing to export more than 100 million of the smokes annually despite a drought in recent years, a top tobacco company executive was quoted as saying this week.
The number cited by Oscar Basulto, president of the Cuban-Spanish firm that markets the island’s cigars abroad, was made in a report to Cuba’s parliament, and carried by the government’s business weekly Opciones.
The president of Habanos S.A. said Cuba last year produced about one-fourth of all the world’s black tobacco, used to produce cigars and strong, aromatic cigarettes.
Before drought took hold of the island in recent years, industry officials had reported that the island was exporting as many as 150 million cigars annually.
Basulto said Cuban tobacco growers have been able to minimize the effects of drought by developing a less thirsty plant variety that can withstand infrequent irrigation.