HAVANA, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Cuban experts have developed two new varieties of tobacco with a potential high yield in the plains of the western Pinar del Rio province, where the best leaves of the aromatic plant are cultivated in the Caribbean nation.
According to Nelson Rodriguez, director of the local San Juan and Martinez Tobacco Experiment Station where the plants were developed, the new varieties, Virginia San Luis 23 and Virginia San Luis 24, have more than 30 useful leaves, while the others grown in the country produce about 18 leaves.
"This means a potential of about 2.5 tonnes per hectare," said Rodriguez, adding that both varieties are intended for the production of cigarettes.
He added that the two new types of tobacco are the result of collaboration with Brazil, including tests in the South American country to evaluate their resistance to "wildfire," a disease that does not exist in Cuba but which the island country is preparing for in case of its arrival.
Rodriguez disclosed that other two varieties are being tested at the station for possible rolling in the famous Cuban hand-made Habanos cigars.
The local San Juan and Martinez Tobacco Experiment Station was launched in 1937 and among its achievements includes the creation of 12 varieties of tobacco grown on the island, such as black, burley and virginia.
Tobacco is Cuba's fourth largest industry, with famous cigar brands of high international demand, and revenues of more than 445 million U.S. dollars a year.