JTI signed contracts for tobacco cultivation with over 300 farmers in Serbia
The company Japan Tobacco International (JTI), the largest producer and the only foreign company that purchases domestic tobacco, has contracted tobacco production with more than 300 growers this year. In addition to Virginia tobacco, from this year, JTI is also contracting Burley tobacco.
“Our goal is to achieve the best possible quality and yield of tobacco in collaboration with our long-standing as well as new growers,” says Željko Ananić, the manager of production and processing of raw tobacco at JTI, adding that this is an ongoing process through close cooperation with growers. Cooperation involves support in all stages of cultivation in terms of advice on agronomic measures, procurement of necessary materials, as well as providing interest-free financial advances. In addition, growers are supported in the procurement of dryers and equipment for irrigation systems for a period of 3 to 7 years, also without interest.”
At JTI, taking care of tobacco growers is a top priority. In order to ensure that tobacco cultivation is economically sustainable, the company tracks all production costs throughout the year and revises purchase prices before buying to increase them if necessary. In 2022, the purchase price of tobacco was continuously increased due to changes in the prices of raw materials, energy for drying tobacco, and the increased cost of labour.
Last year was full of challenges as the summer was very dry and the early autumn was very rainy, which affected the quality and yield of tobacco. However, with the application of appropriate measures under the watchful eye of JTI experts, the maximum was achieved, and the company decided to further assist its cooperatives by paying a supplement of 21 dinars per kilogram of tobacco delivered, regardless of quality.
In 2022, JTI contracted with just under 300 producers in the regions of Srem, Mačva, and Southern Banat and had an average yield of around 1,800 kilograms per hectare on slightly over 1,900 contracted hectares and purchased over 3,400 tons of tobacco. In addition to the economic sustainability of tobacco production, JTI also pays attention to environmental protection. Regular training sessions are organized for cooperatives on the topic of safe working environments, the use of environmentally-friendly plant protection products, and the collection and proper disposal of pesticide packaging waste.