Businesses who exhibited at the IPCPR 2019 have been busily posting about how successful they were in booking orders, while selfies with industry celebrities were displayed from any social media account. While we recognize the importance of trade, and observe today’s growing need to be acknowledged on social media, we want to offer a slightly different angle on the premium cigar.
Our take is that the premium cigar is not just a vehicle for making money and showing off. We do embrace the recent decision of the IPCPR leadership to unite all actors in the fight to protect everybody’s freedom to enjoy premium cigars, as well as the fact they aim to share intangible values across their stakeholders. We wish the newly born Premium Cigar Association (PCA, previously IPCPR) great success in their endeavor.
In addition to the hard political lobbying that is tirelessly undertaken by CRA, PCA, CRE, … could it be the cultural heritage of the premium cigar that can distinguish it from the bulk of other (industrialized) tobacco products, widely viewed now as a hazardous commodity? What could be the impact on the premium cigar industry if our handcrafted agricultural products were recognized globally as an intangible cultural heritage to be protected? Would that lead to a more clear definition and protected status for premium cigars, through the voice of the wealth of knowledge and skills that are transmitted from one generation to the other? And would the social and economic value of this transmission of knowledge be more relevant to politicians?
Although this may sound like a herculean effort, work in this direction is already paying off, in Honduras and in the Netherlands.
In 2016, thanks to the work of Maya Selva, the Congress of the Republic of Honduras declared (page 14) that handmade cigars are an intangible cultural heritage of the Republic. They help promote the social and economic development of the nation and this recognizes “the efforts of investors, business developers, agricultural producers and workers whose persistence, creativity and quality of innovation have created a culture of excellence and quality (…)”.
Ria Bos went through a similar process in the Netherlands, that awarded the cigar rolling art the recognition of intangible cultural heritage in her country.
Here is UNESCO’s intangible cultural heritage page.
We will dedicate some episodes of our forthcoming podcast to this topic. To stay tuned, you can join our Facebook group. If you wish to share your ideas on our podcast, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.