Turkey Tobacco production

Turkey’s tobacco production constitutes 4 percent of global production of 7 million tonnes, placing Turkey fifth after China, India, United States of America and Brazil. The world cigarette market is in general based on blended buy cigarettes, which include a certain amount of oriental-type tobacco. About 65 percent of oriental tobacco is produced in Turkey, 25 percent in Greece and 10 percent in Bulgaria and the former Yugoslavia. Production of Virginia and Burley tobacco amounts to little more than 3 percent (8 000 tonne) of total tobacco production in Turkey.

Production in 1999 amounted to 260 000 tonnes of tobacco, from 283 000 ha, representing a 73 percent increase from 1970, thanks to a doubling of yield from a 14 percent smaller cultivated area. Production increased between 1970 and 1980, followed by drop in area and production resulting from the application of area quotas, which were relaxed in the following years (Table 6.1; Figure 6.1).

Tobacco production, area and yield, 1970-1999

Year Area (ha) Production
(tonne)
Yield
(kg/ha)
1970 328 498 149 861 487
1975 241 508 199 935 924
1980 222 997 228 349 969
1985 176 848 170 491 946
1990 320 236 296 008 910
1995 209 919 204 440 923
1999 283 444 259 478 923

Share in cultivated land

Cereals constitute 59 percent of the total cultivated area in Turkey, followed by fallow (21 percent), pulses (7 percent), industrial crops (7 percent), oilseeds (6 percent) and tuber crops (1 percent). Within industrial crops, cotton has the largest share, with 45 percent, followed by sugar beet (29 percent) and tobacco (20 percent). Thus the tobacco area is about 1.5 percent of the total cultivated area of Turkey, and this proportion has remained fairly constant over a number of years (Figure 6.3).

Production quality

In Turkey, most of the tobacco produced is of the Oriental type, amounting to 251 038 tonnes in 1999 involving 570 450 producers over an area of 280 143 ha. After harvest, it is traditionally dried in the open air (sun-cured). More recently, there has been increasing use of plastic covered tunnels for drying. Virginia and Burley tobacco, grown under irrigated conditions, are dried in special ovens (flue-cured) and drying hangars (dark air-cured). Non-oriental tobacco involves less than 1 percent of the 575 000 tobacco producers, accounting for little more than 3 percent of total tobacco production and occupying little more than 1 percent of total tobacco area.

Tobacco accounted for 80 percent of the net returns to owned resources, while the remaining four crops, although occupying more than half of the area sown, accounted for only 20 percent of the total net return. Of the annual crops, tobacco yielded the largest return per hectare, comparable only to the perennial grape crop. Employing essentially family labour, the cost of labour was not reflected in the variable costs.

Alternative products to tobacco, as suggested by the farmers, were those already cultivated in conjunction with tobacco: wheat and olive had the lowest production costs in rainfed areas, while cotton, grapes and vegetables were grown in irrigated areas. Olives yielded the highest revenue per hectare, followed by cotton. Provided that credit and technical support is available, it appears the only competitive crop substitutes are currently wheat, cotton or olives.

Tobacco manufacturing

While private firms have always operated side-by-side with public firms in tobacco processing, cigarette production and sales were in the hands of a state monopoly until 1991, when two private cigarette factories were established as joint ventures with RJ Reynolds and with Phillip Morris. Production began in 1993.

In 1971, 27 percent of manufacturing firms in Turkey were engaged in the food, beverage and tobacco processing sector. Of the total manufacturing firms 11 percent were public sector enterprises, 4.5 percent of them were concerned with tobacco processing and cigarette production. More than half of the tobacco processing firms were private, while all cigarette producing firms were in the public sector.

By 1997, the number of tobacco processing firms had declined, but the share of public-sector firms increased to 62 percent. The total number of cigarette factories remained the same, but the establishment of two private factories reduced the public share to 78 percent

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