Tobacco is one of top industries in the world. Tobacco can grow in a moist and warm environment; it can be planted on any continent except Antarctica. The tobacco plant is endemic to the American continents and is one of the top crops grown by American farmers. Tobacco is cultivated for its leaves. After drying, the leaves can be processed for smoking and also for chewing. Until the 1960s, the United States was the world’s top grower, manufacturer, and exporter of tobacco.
Today, tobacco is produced on a large scale by many countries. The top tobacco-producing countries are the following:
- China –Tobacco production is a very lucrative business in this country. The tobacco industry yielded 865 billion yuan (the equivalent of $142.5 billion) in taxes and profit in 2012. The Chinese local governments encourage the development of the tobacco industry in their areas to boost the local economy. Each year, China produces 3,150,197 metric tons of unmanufactured tobacco. China has doubled tobacco production in the past decade.
- Brazil –The Brazilian tobacco industry experienced strong growth in the past few years due to the high consumption of cigarettes in the country. Tobacco cultivation is concentrated in the northeast and southern parts of the country. Tobacco is one of the few agricultural crops that sustains the economic survival of farmers here. Tobacco production grew 94 percent from the production level in 1990. The country now produces 851,000 metric tons of tobacco per year.
- India – The Portuguese introduced tobacco in India during the 17th century. Indian tobacco is appreciated the world over for its smoothness and its rich, full-bodied flavor. Indian tobacco is a recognized commodity in the global tobacco market and is used in tobacco manufacturing in different countries. India is the third largest producer of tobacco in the world, with annual production reaching 830,000 metric tons.
- USA – U.S. tobacco production has decreased significantly for the last three decades. From approximately 180,000 farms devoted to tobacco growing in the 1980s, the number of farms has decreased to about 10,000 in 2012. Despite the significant decrease, the U.S. is still the fourth largest producer of tobacco leaves in the world, churning out 345,837 metric tons each year. The states of Georgia, Kentucky, and North Carolina account for about 80 percent of the tobacco production in the country.
- Indonesia – The tobacco industry in Indonesia is one of the country’s largest industries. This is attributed to the high domestic consumption of cigarettes, especially among the male population. It is estimated that 65 percent of Indonesian men are smokers. Research shows that Indonesia produces 260,200 metric tons of unmanufactured tobacco each year.