For 12 years as a usufructuary of the Lázaro Peña Credit and Service Cooperative (CCS), this 50-year-old farmer does not stop since the beginning of each tobacco season.
His growing aspirations to achieve higher and higher yields per hectare keep Ricardo in the attention and work of this demanding crop from early morning until sunset.
Journalist: How many hectares do you currently have for tobacco growing?
Ricardo García: In total I have five hectares for the leaf cultivation. I like to plant this crop because in this area where I live, which is called Portería de Firo, in the Ruta Martiana district, the climate conditions are very advantageous, not to mention the land.
“The soil for planting has to be prepared with all the technical requirements it requires. Then we have to achieve beds with quality postures for planting, which starts on October 10 of each year”.
Q: Which variety do you prefer to plant and why?
R. G: I plant the Corojo 2006 variety because it performs well according to the soil and climatic conditions of the area and the attention I give to each plant when they are developing has allowed me to achieve 2.2 tons of the leaf per hectare.
Q: Why is tobacco considered one of the most demanding crops in agriculture?
Requirements to grow tobacco
R. G: To grow the leaf, the first thing that must exist is the farmer’s love for it. Then all the technical and phytosanitary attentions must be fulfilled from the seedbed to its planting.
“If you do not strictly comply with each step of the attention to the palntation at the time it should be done day by day, the tobacco will charge you at the end, at the harvest time. It’s a crop where the popular saying that ‘you can’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today’ applies very well.” And that is the way tobacco is.
Q: What are your aspirations for the current harvest?
R. G: I am aiming for more than 2.2 tons per hectare in this 2020-2021 campaign because I have set my sights on catching the capadura and if I achieve it, the results will undoubtedly be higher because of the agricultural yields.
“Look at the strength of these plantations, the large size of the leaves and their quality. I am convinced that the yields will be above what I have achieved so far.”
Ramón García Ayala is one of the 59 tobacco producers in Contramaestre for the current 2020-2021 campaign, considered the municipality with the largest number of hectares planted in the entire province of Santiago de Cuba.