Two new, high-yielding varieties of tobacco, developed by the San Juan y Martínez Experimental Tobacco Station, are successfully being grown on farms across the region.
According to Nelson Rodríguez López PhD, director of the institution, both types have been sourced from the Virginia variety, used to produce cigarettes, and have been planted in the locality of Julián Alemán, in the municipality of Consolación del Sur, as well as Mirtinas, in Sandino.
The expert went on to note that these two new varieties are high-yielding, producing more leaves than other kinds grown in the country to date. “They have a total of 30 leaves, whereas the other varieties we have been growing had only 18,” stated Nelson, adding that this means potential yields of 2.5 tons per hectare. He also highlighted the contribution of Miguel Díaz Hernández MsC to the development of the new varieties named Virginia San Luis 23 and Virginia San Luis 24. “Both are the result of a collaborative project with Brazil, which includes tests in the South American country to assess their resistance to wildfire disease, which doesn’t exist in Cuba but is found in the region, which is why we must prepare for it,” he noted. The director of the facility explained that agricultural tests are also being carried out on two further varieties, primarily linked to indoor cultivation for the production of wrapper leaves. “One of these is a hybrid (a combination of varieties) and the other has been developed using traditional methods,” explained Nelson, adding that positive results have been seen in San Juan y Martínez, San Luis, and other areas across the region where the new varieties are being grown. Although the strains are still currently in the evaluation stage, Nelson is optimistic and hopes that they will be officially introduced into the Vueltabajo and other provinces’ 2018-2019 planting plan. Through the use of innovative technology, the San Juan y Martínez Experimental Tobacco Station, founded in 1937, has achieved positive results, including the creation of 12 strains of the most well-known tobacco varieties in the country (negro, burley and virginia). The center also trains producers and provides them with basic seeds for planting, which helps to maintain the stable production of varieties.