The purchase of tobacco by Alliance One International (AOI) that had originally been contracted by U.S. Growers Direct (USGD) was going smoothly in early October, says Jeff Griffin, AOI manager of leaf affairs. “Because of the hurricane, we are not sure how many pounds are out there. It is very hard to get a handle on the volume of this crop.” But industry observers agree that probably no more than 25 million pounds—and certainly not 100 million pounds as USGD claimed--were ever destined for delivery to USGD. Thanks to low yields, it seems unlikely that even that much will be taken by AOI.
says that USGD farmers report no problem dealing with the AOI prices and grading. “Our contracts are similar, and we have had no complaints about that,” he says. “Farmers seem to be pleased with how this is turning out.” The volume has been very good at the Griffin , buying station and also in Wilson, N.C. , N.C., and Louisburg “ Douglas, Ga. wasn’t affected much by the hurricane,” says Georgia . Griffin