Tobacco is a very important contributor to many countries' economies, even though less than one per cent of the world's agricultural land is given over to tobacco farming - and this for only one third of the year.
Farmers choose to grow tobacco because it is hardy, grows well in poorer soils and still fetches a higher and more stable income than many other crops. In developing countries, farmers can earn good yields from very small plots of tobacco, while dedicating most of their land to other uses, like maize, cereals, root crops or fruit and vegetables. Farmers can invest their tobacco earnings into growing food, and the agricultural techniques for growing quality tobacco help to improve other crops.
We provide seed, fertiliser and other inputs as well as advice on planting, growing, harvesting and drying tobacco to many thousands of farmers. We also run programmes on soil improvement, afforestation, efficient fuel usage and crop management which not only benefit the farmers, but also their communities. Find out more in 'Responsible leaf production' in our 'Tobacco and our products' section.