Tobacco Asia

Volume 18, Number 4

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70 tobaccoasia volume at 78 million kgs, up four percent from the 2013 volume of 75 million kgs. Production at this level by no means exhausts the country's potential. As recently as 2010, Ar- gentina's flue-cured growers, who are almost en- tirely located in the northwestern provinces of Ju- juy and Salta, had produced 94.5 million kgs. The decline might have been greater except Argentinians have managed to capture a portion of the China market. In 2013, the country sold 14,104 tons of tobacco to the Chinese at a value of US$ 103.5 million, accounting for 9.5% of all Chinese leaf imports. Almost 90% was flue-cured Virginia from Salta and Jujuy, while the rest was burley from Misiones. FYI: total leaf imports by China in 2013 reached 147,680 tons with a value of US$1.196 billion. The main suppliers of leaf to China last year were Brazil (41%), Zimbabwe (30%), United States (9.8%) and Argentina. But that mark may be too high. Daniel Green, c.e.o. of Burley Stabilization Corporation in Springfield, TN., said in mid August, "It has been really dry over the last seven or eight weeks. Rain- fall has been well below normal. The tobacco is yellowing up and losing leaves from the bottom of the stalk." The drouth had already had an impact on the yield. "Our original estimate for the crop was 195 million pounds," he said. "Now, we might be looking at 185 million. If this dry weather contin- ues, we are going to have a lot of yellow leaf. The color will be variegated." But recent rain could turn things around. "It [a rain on August 10 and 11] was enough to allow many growers to let the early tobacco stay in the field to mature and 'body up' a bit more before they cut," said Green. "But much of the later crop was too weather stressed to improve much." "Where we farm, in the northwest section of Kentucky, our crop is about average," said Rod Kuegel, a burley and dark tobacco grower. "We have had spotty rains but it has been enough. But Western Kentucky has had much less rain, al- though they did finally get some in mid August. I think the state burley crop has been reduced by 10% and possibly as much as 20%." Harvest had started but was about two weeks late. "We waited for the rain," Kuegel said. ARGENTINA LEAF Argentine FCV volume rises modestly, thanks entirely to sales to China A modest increase in flue-cured production ap- pears to have taken place in the season just ended. A projection prepared before marketing was complete and published by the International To- bacco Growers Association estimated Argentine A worker in the dress of an Argentine cowboy (gaucho) prepares criollo tobacco for market in the Argentine state of Salta. Burley grows in the state of Misiones in Argentina. In the distance is the Uruguai River and beyond that, the burley-producing Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul. A farmer in the American state of Tennessee loads burley stalks post harvest for delivery to an R.J. Reynolds receiving station earlier this year. This scene took place near Greeneville, Tn.

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