What Effect is Climate Change Having on Cuban Cigars?
We’ve written copiously on our Cuban cigar blog about the ways in which Cuban cigars are made, the places they’re grown in and how they are aged. What we haven’t spoke about and something that is affecting most aspects of life on planet Earth, is climate change. In an age where we are all making more conscious efforts to reduce the emissions we create, we thought we’d take a look at how climate change might be affecting the cultivation of tobacco and in turn our best Cuban Cigars, such as Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta cigars.
In May, Cuba was affected by almost an entire month of torrential rain, which despite it being the country’s wet season, was most uncommon to have such an extraordinary amount of rainfall. Major tobacco plantations were less affected by the unpredictable wet and windy weather, such as Hirochi Robaina’s Cuchillas de Barbacoa farm. Robaina explained that his operation was able to deal with the unfortunate situation quickly and reduce its impact on the crops, whereas smaller farms did not have the capacity or tools to and therefore felt its impact more harshly, decreasing their yield and the amount of cigars for sale.
Everyone remembers the intense period of drought which hit Cuba during 2015. The El Nino season of that year had a devastating impact on Cuba, providing some of the toughest living conditions. In addition to this, winter in Cuba that year was unpredictably wet. This had an obvious impact on plantations and many farmers planted new tobacco plants out of season to salvage what they had lost.
What effect does this sort of weather have on tobacco?
Just as with any form of agriculture. there are ideal conditions which tobacco can be grown in. Tobacco needs a lot of sunlight and humid conditions to be cultivated to its fullest potential. Therefore, when periods of drought and rainfall, caused by climate change, hits Cuba it has a direct impact on the soil quality by drying it out and then soaking it- turning it into sludge which is detrimental to the plant’s potential. In addition to this, the rain causes the tobacco plants to decay, making them useless.
In a recent report on climate change and its effects on tobacco farming in Cuba it was said that the industry will be able to get by without too much damage, but warns that if global warming increases, as it is predicted to if we don’t make certain changes, then harvests are definitely going to decline.
How is Cuba dealing with this?
Hirochi Robaina and Hector Luis Prieto, amongst other tobacco growers, have already begun to take precautions and make changes to their plantations, such as introducing concrete floors in their barns to control the humidity. New tobacco plantations have also been built, which are made using bricks to increase humidity levels and utilise turbines to heat the tobacco plants when the weather is unpredictably cold. These innovative changes and controlled conditions has meant that tobacco is able to grow in optimum conditions, even if the earth cannot provide it naturally.
What are your thoughts on climate change and the effects it is having on Cuban cigars? What do you want to see on the Cuban cigar blog? Let us know in the comments section below.