Tobacco grows well in poorer soil and volatile weather conditions
The tobacco industry contributes substantially to the economies of over 100 countries, and millions of people worldwide depend on it for employment.
Tobacco taxes are a major source of revenue for almost every government in the world.
Few industries are as wide-ranging as the tobacco industry. Most countries have a tobacco manufacturing industry, and the industry usually forms an important part of the economic and social fabric. Even in countries that do not have tobacco manufacturing, tobacco distribution is an important source of economic activity.
Most widely cultivated non-food crop
Tobacco is the world's most widely cultivated non-food crop. The farmers who choose to grow it – many of them in developing countries – do so because it is hardy, grows well in poorer soils and volatile weather, and is known for fetching stable prices. Farmers can earn good yields from very small plots of tobacco, enabling them to put tobacco earnings into growing other crops, such as food. The techniques used for growing quality tobacco also help to improve other crops.
Less than one per cent of the world's agricultural land is given over to tobacco farming – less than half the land given to coffee, for example – and only for part of the year, but it is an important contributor to the agricultural economy in many countries.