Friday, March 18, 2011
The 100-million-pound Asia tobacco sale is still doable, claims Grower Direct exec
The effort to sell U.S. tobacco directly to Asian buyers was slowed briefly earlier this year by questions over funding and other issues. Jimmy Lee, vice president of U.S. Growers Direct, says those issues have been resolved. "We are resuming the process," Lee says."On Monday (March 21), we will write to the farmers who have signed contracts with us, giving them a contract letter with a confirmation number." USGD already has contracts for most of the 100 million pounds of flue-cured that were originally planned. Lee rejects the notion that there is not enough barn space to cure a crop this size, although that question is frequently asked. "The traditional buyers appear to be looking for 420 million pounds," he says. "Add 100 million pounds from USGD and we are only talking about 520 million pounds. That is about what we produced in 2009, and there were enough barns then!" Note: Lee says now that some of the USGD leaf will go to other Asian markets rather than just China.