Joseph Adduci spearheads Jamaica s cigar industry
Almost two hundred years ago Jamaica enjoyed a vibrant tobacco industry, which provided a handsome revenue stream for its then colonial master, Great Britain. In the industrial age, tobacco fell by the way side and in the twenty-first century, tourism and bauxite/ alumina are now the leading foreign exchange earners.
Joseph Adduci intends to turn back the hands of time by producing cigars with Jamaican tobacco. Of Italian- American decent, he came to Jamaica some fifteen years ago. During that time he has run a 10,000 acre farm, a cable television company, an ice factory and a boutique hotel all in the parish of Westmoreland. He learned how to grow tobacco in Connecticut, in the United States.
Joseph Adduci (right) presents Denis Lalor with a box of fine Adduci Jamaican cigars.
He began his tobacco venture in Jamaica two and a half years ago and says that his company is still very much in the research and development stage. At present his company, Adduci Tobacco Limited grows tobacco on 100 acres of land in both Clarendon and Westmoreland, which is attended to by 20 farmers. The company, through its brands Adduci Cigars and King Lion Jamaican Cigars currently exports 900,000 cigars a year.
Adduci now wants to expand his operations and is currently looking for partners.
"Earlier this week, I had a very productive meeting with James Robertson who is in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) and I have signed a letter of intent with the
Government. It has expressed an interest in taking a 10 per cent stake in the company together with helping to facilitate 800 acres of land in Caymanas Estates, lands controlled by the Urban Development Corporation (UDC). The government has been gracious enough to offer me a US$5-million line of credit for the development of these lands.
"I would like to take this opportunity to thank, James Robertson, Ray Miles, the chairman of Jamaica Trade and invest, Wayne Chen, chairman of the UDC, and Karl Samuda, the minister for industry, investment and commerce for all their help in getting this project off the ground.
The lands will house state-of-the-art agricultural, manufacturing and export facilities and capital cost will come to US$50 million in the first year," said Adduci speaking with Caribbean Business Report yesterday from Kingston.
The plan is to export to 220 global markets and if Adduci hopes to effectively compete with the likes of Cuba, Nicaragua, Mexico, the Philippines and Honduras he will need capital expenditure of US$250 million over a five-year period. He declared that he intends to hire 3,000 people within the next four years.
Both Alexander and John Hamilton who cultivate bamboo for their bamboo furniture company have pledged to provide 200 acres and will come in as equity partners said Adduci.
Denis Lalor in his capacity as chairman of Caribbean Basin Investor Limited and the Appliance Trades Limited Pension Fund have expressed an interest in investing in his cigar enterprise, added Adduci.
"We now plan to start planting tobacco on the first 200 acres in the next 60 days and hope to export 25 million cigars in our first year of operation."
According to Adduci, over one billion cigars were imported into the US market in the first nine months of 2008. Citing figures from the Cigar Association of America, during the same period, he added that 196 million premium cigars were imported into the US, thus making the industry a lucrative one.
Source: Jamaica Observer