Several Nicaraguan factories close down temporarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Officially, there are only four cases of the disease in Nicaragua, yet those numbers are very unreliable. The Nicaraguan government hasn’t taken any steps. The temporary shut down of the factories is done at the initiative of the factory owners.
Last week, Tabacalera Aragon where Jas Sum Kral is produced, closed the doors. They were the first to take this measure and remain closed until April 20. Jas Sum Kral owner Riste Ristevski, and partner in Tabacalera Aragon, did say that the employees will receive a paycheck even though the factory is closed. The same goes for the employees of Nica Sueno, the factory of RoMa Craft. Nica Sueno is one of the factories that decided to stop production temporarily as well. Last week Skip Martin from RoMa Craft said “We told everyone that we would keep paying them through this as we always have. Most factories won’t, which is unfortunate. About seven years ago we were out of Esteli Ligero and couldn’t find anywhere. We paid people to paint and clean and do odd jobs for six weeks until we found some. Our people simply do not have the resources to absorb a week off of work without pay, much less a month.”
Other factories that suspended their operations temporarily are TABSA. That is the factory of Eduardo Fernandez and also known as Aganorsa Leaf. TABSA produces many brands, including most of the Illusione cigars, some lines of Warped, and Gurkha Treinta amongst others. Nicaraguan American Cigars SA (NACSA) will also be shutting down. Some of the cigars of Dunbarton Tobacco & Trust, some Asylum, and all Dapper cigars are rolled at this factory, amongst many other brands and lines.
Drew Estate & Joya de Nicaragua
There is a tight bond, a partnership, between Joya de Nicaragua and Drew Estate. That started in 2008 when Drew Estate started to distribute Joya de Nicaragua in the United States. Since then, both companies have been working together closely. So it’s no surprise that both companies decided to temporarily suspend operations at the same moment. From this Monday until Monday, April 13 both factories will be shut down.
The last cigar factory to confirm suspending operations in Mombacho. Unlike the six factories mentioned earlier in this article, Mombacho is not located in Esteli. Casa Favelli, the factory of Mombacho is located in the colonial city of Granada. Earlier this week Mombacho’s master blender Claudio Sgroi released a press statement about preparations for Covid-19. He did that as the president of the Nicaraguan Tobacco Association.
Honduras, Dominican Republic & Cuba
The first country to suspend the production of cigars was Honduras. That was a government decision. All Dominican factories suspended production voluntarily. Production in Cuba is business as usual. We have no reports on any shutdowns in Costa Rica.