Agricultural markets: Raw
Thirteen EU member countries produce tobacco – with a few regions in
Italy, Greece, Spain and Bulgaria being particularly active.
The 27-member EU currently produces +/- 280 000 tons of raw tobacco annually. EU production represents 4% of worldwide production. Italy is the biggest EU producer, followed by Bulgaria, Poland and Spain.
Production statistics [pdf]
The amount of arable land devoted to tobacco production in the EU is shrinking rapidly (currently some 100,000 hectares cultivated by approximately 80 000 producers). On average, each producer cultivates a mere 1.25 hectares of tobacco.
The EU imports around 600 000 tons of tobacco per year, of which around 370 000 tons under inward processing arrangements.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1234/2007 establishing a common organisation
of agricultural markets (CMO)
took effect on 1 July 2008, replacing Regulation No 2075/1992 on the common
organization of the market in raw tobacco.
In April 2004, the Council of EU Agricultural Ministers decided to
reform the raw-tobacco sector along the same principles as the CAP reform of
June 2003. (See Council Regulations (EC) No 1782/2003 [consolidated version]
and No 864/2004).
The raw-tobacco sector is being reformed in two phases: a transition
phase (2006 – 2009) and a second phase (2010 and after).
From 2006 to 2009, Member States could either completely break the link between production and the financial aid provided to the tobacco sector – also known as "decoupling" – or continue to link up to 60% of the provided aid to production; in the latter case, the remaining aid had to be decoupled.
Since 2010 on, all EU member countries and their regions were required to completely decouple production and aid. 50% of the former aid to the tobacco sector was incorporated into the single payment.
The other 50% went towards strengthening rural development programmes, particularly in tobacco-growing regions (see Council Regulation (EC) No 1698/2005). Decoupling aid from production will allows producers to grow other crops – if they wish – while maintaining stable incomes.
For more information see:
Evaluation of the measures of the CAP concerning the sector of the raw tobacco (August 2009)