The history of tobacco in Pakistan is closely linked to the Pakistan Tobacco Company
The history of tobacco cultivation in Pakistan is one of the rare success stories in agrarian cultivation and the adoption of modern farming practices in the country.
Pakistan went from being a net importer of tobacco in 1948, which is when Pakistan Tobacco Company started operations, to becoming self sufficient in tobacco production in 1969.
Although tobacco is grown throughout the country, the primary source of this integral raw material is the NWFP where soil and climatic conditions suit tobacco cultivation the most. The province has been the focal point of our efforts in terms of tobacco-related activities in Pakistan, and as a result, produces around three-fourths of the tobacco leaf grown in the country. The province grows the three most widely used types of tobacco namely, Flue Cured Virginia (FCV), Burley and Nicotiana Rustica (White Patta).
Pakistan Tobacco Company, as the largest cigarette manufacturer in Pakistan, has a special relationship with the land and people of the NWFP. The fruit of these activities is that in just 30 years Pakistan became the 5th largest tobacco producer in the world and 4th in highest yield.
In 1948, we pioneered the cultivation of Virginia tobacco in Pakistan with an average yield per hectare of 861 kg. Through our continuous efforts and the hard work put in by our contracted farmers, the yields have increased significantly to 2,400 kg/hectare. Prior to that native varieties like Jati & Motihari were cultivated mainly in the eastern part of Pakistan (Bangladesh). All the Virginia tobacco was imported from the USA & India
Flue Cured Virginia tobacco is now the most widely grown and widely used type of cigarette tobacco in Pakistan and the total production of this high value commodity has increased from 23.8 million kgs in 1967-68 to 66 million kgs in 2007. Pakistan is now the 7th largest producer of FCV in the world.
As a result of our direct efforts, the current tobacco production in the country exceeds 100 million kilograms per year, although what is perhaps more important is the types of tobacco grown in the country. The share of higher value FCV, Burley and White Patta as opposed to lower priced filler tobacco has grown tremendously over the years, drastically increasing the returns for farmers and eliminating our reliance on imports for higher quality tobacco.
For a more detailed history of tobacco cultivation please visit www.bat.com