An Interview with Litto Gomez and Ines Lorenzo-Gomez
Owners, La Flor Dominicana
From the Print Edition:
Laurence Fishburne, Jan/Feb 00
(continued from page 5)
Gomez: About a third. On top of all that, there was even a kind of an order issued from the minister of agriculture that he was not going to let any filler and binder be imported to the Dominican Republic until the existing tobacco has been bought from the farmers.
CA: Presumably, a lot of that tobacco is not very good tobacco.
Gomez: No, the tobacco is definitely not good. It has been sitting there for too long, it has been grown without economic support. That means there were no fertilizers and you don't have the necessary labor. It takes a lot of money to clean those plants over the three-month growing process. It takes a lot of labor. It takes a lot of fertilizers. It takes a lot of protection from pests. If you don't have the economic support, you're not going to get a good product. So most of that tobacco is not good.
It was really bad when there was no tobacco, but having a lot of tobacco right now is having negative consequences, too. And the buyers, even though they don't really want to buy that tobacco, are buying it. But they are carefully examining the tobacco coming in. There were farmers that produced 50 percent [premium-grade] tobacco; now they have 20 percent when they bring it in. The rest doesn't qualify.
CA: What kind of inventory do you have right now? I have heard that some of the larger companies have built up large inventories of tobacco.
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