Boost for Burma Valley farmers

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GERMANY-BASED firm, Von Eicken, is set to increase its tonnage of cigar wrapper tobacco, as it plans to manufacture 100% Zimbabwean leaf cigars next year senior buyer, Andrew Edmondson has revealed.

BY STAFF REPORTER

During the first sale in 2016, the German firm acquired 11 tonnes of cigar wrapper tobacco, followed by 20 tonnes in 2017 and anticipates to acquire similar tonnage this year.

The Germany-headquartered company manufactures and markets cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos, and pipe tobacco.

The company partnered with Burma Valley farmers, where the latter have been supplying the company with a special type of tobacco – cubra – used to wrap cigars.

“Currently, we are still running trials of the Zimbabwean leaf. We haven’t manufactured cigars from it that are on the market. We expect to start manufacturing 100% Zimbabwean leaf cigar next year,” he said.

Edmondson said they are still finalising the best destination for Zimbabwean cigar wrappers, between their machine-made and handmade cigar factories.

Machine-made cigars are cheaper, while the handmade ones are highly priced.

“We are still deciding whether to opt for machine-made or handmade cigars. But from what we have seen, the Zimbabwean leaf is a best quality and most suitable for handmade destination,” he said.

Von Eicken runs its top handmade factories in the Dominican Republic, which is the top cigar manufacturing state.

He said the Zimbabwean cigar wrapper tobacco is likely to be destined for the Caribbean nation.

The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board is set to deploy two of its experts to the Dominican Republic in March, to appreciate the technology used by Von Eicken to manufacture cigars.

Edmondson said although the company conducts fermentation and drying of the tobacco in the country, there are no plans to add value of the golden leaf in Zimbabwe at the moment.