SQM’s 10th International Tobacco Seminar
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The tobacco industry gathered in SQM’s hometown of Santiago, Chile, earlier this year, for the 10th International Tobacco Seminar. We at Tobacco Farm Quarterly were honored to be invited to this special event.
SQM, a leading producer of specialty plant nutrients, iodine and lithium, initiated its first international seminar to bring together agricultural businesspeople, tobacco executives, technical experts and agronomists from around the world. Ten years later, the seminar is still going strong, attracting around 250 key players from dozens of countries.
This year had a celebratory feel as SQM toasted 10 years and took the opportunity to announce its new corporate direction and slogan—“Powered by Element Q.”
The conference kicked off with tours of tobacco fields in the San Fernando area. Attendees had the opportunity to witness field trials and discuss pesticide application and plant nutrition.
Back inside the next day, attendees were treated to a first-class seminar given by leading experts.
One of the most widely discussed topics was preventing the formation of tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs). Expert Gary Palmer, from the University of Kentucky, discussed new developments to reduce TSNAs, such as the use of low-conversion seeds.
David Smith, from North Carolina State University, and Will Snell, of the University of Kentucky, detailed the latest news regarding the U.S. tobacco quota buyout and its implications on the global tobacco market.
Other topics included biotechnology innovations, tobacco cultivation in Argentina, seed-bed production in Brazil, and burley production in Africa and the U.S.
We have to ad-mit it wasn’t all work—SQM treated attendees to lots of play. Following the tobacco field tours, we gathered for a traditional Chilean-style lunch at the Viña Bisquertt vineyard in Chile’s famous Colchagua valley. (Of course we were obliged to do a little wine tasting!)
The final banquet was held in the historic Castillo Hidalgo on a hill overlooking Santiago. The evening was complete with dazzling entertainment—dancers, acrobats, fire jugglers and the unveiling of an original song for the tobacco family—“TobacQo Community Song.”
Following the seminar, several participants traveled to the Atacama Desert to discover the fascinating origins of SQM products—the desert’s large deposits of minerals.
We look forward to 10 more years of SQM’s invaluable seminar!