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Greek Tobacco


The economic and social importance of tobacco cultivation is particularly significant for Greece. The role of tobacco processing and trading enterprises, which intermediate between tobacco growers and the tobacco industries, is also important. Domestic production of tobacco leaves over the last two years has been around 120,000 - 125,000 tons, while exports during the same period where around 85,000 tons amd imports between 18,000 - 22,000 tons.

The number of tobacco producers and the area under cultivation in 2001 were 58,697 and 54,762 hectares respectively, compared to 71,697 and 76,290 hectares for 1990. The average price including bonuces was Euro 4,58/kilo in 2001 with a gross income per producer of approximately Euro 9,221 for the same year .

The largest part (90 - 95%) of tobacco leaves processed and transported by most of the tobacco trading enterprises is sold abroad and primarily to well-known multinational companies producing cigarettes, and the rest is sold to Greek cigarette manufacturers. Of the exports made, the largest percentage (approximately 80%) is destined for third countries, with the main countries being Russia, followed by Germany and the USA.

The main customers of tobacco trading companies abroad are multinatonal tobacco industry companies (Philip Morris Inc., Rothmans, Reemtsma, House of Prince, British American, Orlik Tobacco Company). Moreover, certain tobacco trading enterpises collaborate with monopolies in certain states such as France, Japan, Egypt, etc.

The number of tobacco processing & trading enterpises active today in Greece, based on tobacco purchase agreements signed with tobacco growers, is approximately 25. Of these enterprises the number of well - organized units which stand out in terms of the size of their facilities and the quantities of tobacco processed and transported, is limited to certain groups or single enterprises whose number does not exceed 6 - 7 in total.

The quantities of the tobacco purchased by enterprises in the sector amounted to 120,313 tons in 2002, returning to the level of 1990, while in the interim period the figure had reached much higher levels.

The main varieties (based on 2002 data) were Virginia (33,7%), Basmas (23,4%) and Katerini (14,4%).

Greece also imports tobacco in quantities corresponding to 17,5% of domestic production (in 2001) with the largest quantities coming from non-EU countries, which accounted for 57% of imports, compared to 43% for the EU in 2001. Zimbabwe is the main country of origin for imported tobacco among the non-EU countries while among EU countries Holland comes first.

In relation to the country's position of the international market, Greece holds 7th place internationally in terms of tobacco production and 6th place in terms of exports. First place in terms of global tobacco production is held by China and the country with the highest export activity is Brazil. In the EU, cultivation and processing of leaf tobacco is carried out in 9 of the 15 Member States, and these activities are considered significant for the economy of the revelant countries. Community production contributes just 20% to the level of tobacco consumed in Europe, while the remaining percentage is covered by imports. Italy is the main country producing leaf tobacco in the EU with a share of approximately 39% of overall production, followed by Greece with 36%. The European Union is the largest leaf tobacco importer in the entire world.

At global level, tobacco trade is controlled by 3 multinational companies (Universal, Dimon and Standard Commercial) which have tobacco processing factories in many countries around the world and/or participate in joint ventures in these countries, including Greece.

Source: Athens Chamber of Commerce & Industry



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