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Tobacco Farmers in Macedonia, Balkan Tobacco Question

Monday, September 17th, 2012

cheap camel cigarette“The World Health Organisation recommendations for reducing tobacco products pose a threat to the livelihood of hundreds and thousands of families, adding it will not prevent inhabitants from smoking” say tobacco growers from Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece and Turkey. Gathered at a regional forum on oriental tobacco, organised by the International Tobacco Growers’ Association (ITGA) in Skopje on Friday, they agreed that by reducing tobacco production the number of smokers would not be modified, adding that tobacco growing didn’t damage the environment.

According to ITGA CEO Antonio Abrunhosa, tobacco farming was under a great threat and WHO’s recommendations to lessen tobacco production was not a smart move.

“The tobacco products use is in constant increase and thus the World Health Organisation wants to enforce restrictions and to reduce consumption and tobacco products as a result. We think it is not a smart move by the WHO because it won’t force smokers to quit smoking only because the production of tobacco in their country is dropped,” stated Abrunhosa.

The real danger, according to him, is that governments are urged to cut down cigarettes in their country, thus leaving hundreds and thousands of families on the street.

“The livelihood of growers of oriental tobacco in Macedonia and surrounding countries is put into question, because there is no replacement for this type of tobacco. We are not against the WHO ordinances, however there must be a different limit between the activities of its experts and tobacco products, because these two things should go hand in hand,” CEO Abrunhosa stressed.

Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Water Management Ljupco Dimovski reiterated that tobacco products would resume and that subsidies would be still paid for it.

“While this government structure is in power, tobacco growers can rest assured that tobacco products and subsidies will resume. Tobacco is an industrial and agriculture culture that is of great importance for Macedonia first and foremost of economic but also of social aspect. It employs a great number of farmers and the state has a substantial economic effect from tobacco farming. We remain firm with the position to resume producing oriental tobacco in Macedonia,” Dimovski noted.

Asian Demand Boosts Georgia Tobacco

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

best chesterfield cigarettes onlineGeorgia’s tobacco acreage is expected to hold steady this year, thanks to a new buyer in the state and high demand in Asia.

Tobacco acreage has been dropping for two decades. Experts expected fewer acres of the crop to be planted this year, but now estimates from the U.S. Agriculture Department project Georgia farmers will plant about 11,000 acres of tobacco, the same amount as last year.

In part, the cause is a new company that has contracted with Georgia growers for their tobacco, saying it is bound for Asian markets.

“What it has brought is a renewed sense of hope on the part of tobacco growers, some of whom had reached the end of their multi-year contracts with another company,” said J. Michael Moore, a tobacco agronomist at the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension.

Moore said he hopes the steady production signals the end of the decades of decline.

“Our hope is that the level of tobacco production and chesterfield cigarettes has reached the bottom of the slope and that we will trend to be more level, if not increase over time,” he said.

Moore said conditions have been good for growing tobacco recently, and farmers haven’t seen much of a virus that has attacked Georgia’s crop since 1985.

“We’re having a very good production season this year – second year in a row,” Moore said. “We have very low levels of tomato spotted wilt virus, so our losses and our reduction in quality will be minimum this year because of that disease.”

Georgia’s tobacco industry was worth more than $47 million last year. Near its peak in 1996, the state’s tobacco crop was worth more than $200 million.

Frequent Rain Bad for Tobacco Growers

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

cheap lucky strike cigarettesMay rainfall in Danville has been more than two inches above normal for the month and the extra precipitation is impacting the region’s farmers. The Danville area has been hit with 5.28 inches of rain this month, said Will Perry, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Blacksburg.

The frequent downpours are affecting the region’s farmers, especially tobacco growers, said Stephen Barts, extension agent with the Virginia Cooperative Extension in Pittsylvania County. The weather has been a hindrance, causing many farmers to stop planting and cultivation, Barts said.

“Typically, by this time, everybody has been done planting and are cultivating for the first time,” Barts said.

Because of rains, only two or three days were suitable for fieldwork last week and the week before, Barts said. Planting season in 2010 was dry, with planting and irrigation of tobacco going on at the same time, Barts said.

Mud makes it impossible for farmers to move their equipment through the field, while planting and cultivating in those conditions make the land “hard as a rock,” Barts said.

“You don’t want to compact it,” he said.

Axton tobacco grower Darrell Jackson said of the weather’s effects on farmers, “It’s tough right now.”

“In Henry County, we’ve been probably wetter than anybody,” said Jackson, who lives about a mile and a half mile west of the Pittsylvania County line. “We’ve had a time.”

Jackson said he has planted about seven acres of his 16-acre tobacco crop. He hopes to plant the remainder Saturday or Sunday.

Jackson said about two inches of rain will fall and then stop, slowing farmers’ operations for four days before another small downpour adds more moisture. Jackson usually finishes planting his tobacco crop by mid-May, but he will be further behind this year if wet weather returns Friday.

“I’d be lucky to get it all planted by the first of June,” Jackson said.

In addition, getting pushed too far behind can put crops in risk of frost damage in the fall, Jackson said.

Another prospect farmers fear during this wet season is the sudden cut-off of rain, Jackson said.

Java farmer Keith Atkinson said he hasn’t had much trouble with heavy rains this year, but would worry if rain doesn’t appear in July or August. Atkinson has experienced frequent showers bringing about a third to a half-inch of accumulation, with no damage to crops.

“It’s been almost ideal for wheat and hay crops,” Atkinson said.

Rainfall has slightly interrupted tobacco planting for Atkinson. He could use another 1/2 day to finish planting the remaining eight acres of his 140-acre crop, which still needs cultivating, he said.

“It’s (rainfall) probably speeding up the tobacco we’ve already planted,” Atkinson said.

If Atkinson continues to get normal rainfall, a frost in the fall won’t be a threat, he said. Last year, drought forced Atkinson to wait until November to pull his tobacco, which he usually pulls by mid-October.

“We’re going to have to work with whatever Mother Nature gives us,” Atkinson said.