Tobacco Reporter is a great believer in firsthand coverage. Rather than relying exclusively on news wires or correspondents, we invest significant time, manpower and revenue in getting the story directly from the source. Only by gathering the news ourselves can we be sure that our reports are accurate and properly researched.
The upshot is that we’re constantly traveling. At any given time, a Tobacco Reporter editor is on the road, meeting with farmers, touring factories and interviewing executives.
While this approach produces quality coverage, it can also be a tad frustrating: Invariably, we return from our trips with more information and impressions than we can reasonably report in three or four magazine pages. And that’s a shame, because many of our experiences on the road are compelling stories in their own right.
To offer you a glimpse into our news-gathering efforts, our editors occasionally write blogs, which we will link to from this page.
Zimbabwe revisited – May/June 2011
Discouraged by continuing farm invasions and economic mismanagement, the global tobacco industry had all but written off Zimbabwe as a leading supplier of flavorful flue-cured Virginia leaf. Harvesting more than 200 million kg per season in its heyday, Zimbabwe has seen production drop to a miserly 50 million kg recently. But the downward trend appears to be reversing. Predictions for this year’s crop vary between 130 million and 200 million kg. Is Zimbabwe making a comeback? And, if so, is its recovery sustainable?
The Counterfeit trail – February/March 2008
It’s hard to exaggerate the harm caused by smuggling and counterfeiting. Governments miss out on tax revenue, legitimate manufacturers suffer lost sales and damage to their reputations, and consumers end up with inferior products. What’s more, the profits from smuggling and counterfeiting provide seed money for other illegal activities such as organized crime and terrorism. Eager to better understand the illegal cigarette trade, Tobacco Reporter‘s Noel Morris and Taco Tuinstra traveled to the tri-border area where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. The tri-border area is believed to be South America’s busiest contraband and smuggling center.
Out of Africa – June 2008
Many of Africa’s tobacco sourcing countries are landlocked. In addition, they often suffer from fuel shortages, red tape and crumbling infrastructures. How does leaf tobacco make it from the markets to its customers (or at least, the ports) under such conditions? In this blog, Tobacco Reporter‘s Taco Tuinstra accompanied a shipment of Malawi burley as it makes it way from the Lilongwe auction floors to the port of Beira in Mozambique.