The tobacco industry in South Africa is shrinking, but there is still significant interest in farming tobacco leaves. In this episode of Farmer’s Inside, we take a closer look at the production line, how tobacco can be processed into cigars, and the market potential in Mzansi.
Food For Mzansi earlier shared some useful tips for beginner farmers interested in tobacco farming. Jaco Snyman, from Santa Bras in George, Western Cape shares insights on air-cured tobacco leaves, and how they are used to manufacture cigars as a luxury brand in the country.
Processing leaves into cigars
Snyman said, “Looking at the basic points of departure, if you look at wine, the vines came from France, they were imported to the Cape, then we started growing our own shiraz.”
He pointed out that the same applies to the tobacco leaves used in cigars. It is well known that Cuban varieties are well suited for the making of cigars, but if a seed from Cuba is planted in the Western Cape, “inevitably, there will be a South African Cuban cigar in the end,” he said. “It will taste slightly different than an imported Cuban cigar would taste like, which is just a factor or result of the environment changes.”
Snyman also discussed the seed process in the episode, saying that the seeds are planted in a nursery. After about three weeks, the plant will start to grow, after which the tobacco will be replanted and grow for another three to four weeks. “Three months later, they are harvested and then they are air-cured. After the air-cured process, the plants are taken through another maturing phase.”
In addition to the seed process, Snyman shared insights on leaf requirements, post-harvest procedures, and more in this episode. Overall, this episode provides valuable insights into the tobacco industry and the process of manufacturing cigars in South Africa.
Want to know more? Listen to the full episode of Farmer’s Inside Track.
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