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Rains disrupt Cuba’s tobacco season

| March 6, 2014
Workers carry tobacco leaves to the curing barn on a plantation belonging to one of Cuba’s many co-operatives. Picture: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Workers carry tobacco leaves to the curing barn on a plantation belonging to one of Cuba’s many co-operatives.
Picture: Jorge Luis Baños/IPS

Excessive rain has hit Cuba’s leaf tobacco harvest, with the important growing districts of San Juan y Martínez and San Luis being severely affected, according to a story by Ivet González for Inter Press Services.

González reported that San Juan y Martínez and San Luis, which between them provide about 86 percent of the tobacco used in manufacturing Havana cigars, had suffered from too much rain since the season started in November.

The excessive rain has meant that some farms have had to replant their tobacco three times, so planting deadlines have had to be moved, causing delays to other aspects of the production process.

The full story is at http://www.ipsnews.net/2014/03/untimely-rains-hit-cuban-tobacco-harvest/.

Manufacturing a bond with retailers

| March 6, 2014

France Imperial pic2More than 1,000 retailers have gone behind the scenes at one of Imperial Tobacco’s factories during the past 18 months as part of a trade partner initiative in France.

The latest event took place at the company’s cigarette factory near Nantes, with local tobacconists being given a guided tour of the Carquefou site (pictured).

The factory visit was part of an ongoing initiative by Seita that started in 2012 to help retailers learn more about Imperial’s brands.

The tobacconists were said to have been shown every aspect of the manufacturing and supply chain process and then to have been given the opportunity to quiz factory manager Sébastien Depierre.

“Most had never been inside a tobacco factory and were naturally curious to know more about a product they sell every day,” said Depierre.

Zimbabwe district council gets tough on tobacco growers and contractors

| March 5, 2014

All tobacco companies operating in Zimbabwe’s Hurungwe district will be required from the next tobacco growing season to sign with Hurungwe Rural District Council (HRDC) a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regulating their operations, according to a story in The Herald.

This follows concerns that tobacco contractors and farmers have not been complying with council bylaws and the tenets of corporate social responsibility.

The HRDC chief executive officer, Joram Moyo, said that tobacco farming was having a negative impact on the district’s environment and, in particular, on its forests as wood was cut for curing leaf.

In part, the MOU will require farmers to use coal for curing their tobacco or to establish a woodlot as a curing resource.

Meanwhile, Hurungwe District Administrator Tsana Chirau said that though contractors were raking in huge profits, they were not forthcoming in fulfilling their corporate social obligations.

She said that despite the fact that farmers were exposed to dangerous chemicals, contractors had not come up with programs to assist the area’s clinics, some of which were facing drugs and equipment shortages.

According to the Herald, the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board puts the number of registered tobacco growers in Hurungwe at more than 22,000.

Bangladesh leaf plant said to pose threat

| March 5, 2014

A leaf tobacco processing factory has been the subject of protests in the Saptibari village of the Aditmari subdistrict of Bangladesh because of its proximity to educational institutions, according to a story in The Daily Star.

Factory and local sources were quoted as saying that though the Mian Leaf tobacco factory was built in 2012, it was not used to process tobacco last year because of protests by schoolchildren, teachers and other local people.

However, the factory’s owner is said to have decided to run the factory this year following the tobacco harvest.

The Star said the heads of three educational institutions close to the factory believed the health of their 1,500 students would be put at risk if the tobacco factory became operational, though the nature of the health risk was not specified.

Reduce smuggling, don’t increase taxes

| March 5, 2014

A top official of Vietnam’s tobacco industry has proposed boosting the country’s revenue by urgently cracking down on cigarette smuggling rather than by increasing tobacco-products consumption tax, according to a VietnamPlus story.

Vu Van Cuong, the chairman of both the Vietnam Tobacco Association and the state-owned Vietnam National Tobacco Corp, made the suggestion after the Ministry of Finance unveiled a plan to raise the consumption tax on cigarettes to 75 percent by July 2015 and to 85 percent by 2018, as part of draft amendments to the Law on Special Consumption Tax.

He said a consumption tax hike would pave the way for more smuggling, the reduction of the domestic tobacco industry’s market share and the lowering of state revenues.

VietnamPlus reported that a 2012 survey by the International Tax and Investment Centre, which is part funded by multinational tobacco companies, showed that Vietnam was the second largest consumer of smuggled cigarettes among 11 surveyed Asian nations.

U.S. e-cigarette sales up 31.3 percent

| March 5, 2014

Logic Technology said yesterday that it had strengthened its No. 2 position in respect of e-cigarette volume sales, according to a Wells Fargo Securities report on Nielsen’s C-Track [U.S. convenience store] Database.

Logic said also that it had maintained its No. 2 position in respect of e-cigarette dollar sales in convenience stores.

“Logic now commands 20.2 percent of dollar share in the category, demonstrating the continued success of Logic’s premium product line,” the company said.

“Further, Logic has maintained the No. 2 unit share position, increasing to 21.8 percent of the category.”

The Nielsen report showed also that Logic had three of the top five SKUs nationwide.

Lorillard’s Blu remains the e-cigarette category leader.

Overall, Wells Fargo reported that the growth in the value of e-cigarette sales had decelerated slightly to plus 31.3 percent.

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