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Harvest of tobacco

In France, 2,076 growers produce around 7,000 ha of tobacco. The average producer has a surface area of 1.5 to 8 ha with certain differences according to regions and varieties.

Tobacco begins to grow in early March, when the seed is sown in nurseries or floating seed beds. Several weeks after germination, seedlings are hardened and, towards mid-May transplanting takes place.

At the beginning of summer, plants reach a height of 1.60m which is when they start to flower. At this stage the grower cuts the flower at the top of the head to enable the leaves to develop to a maximum. There are about twenty per stalk, wide, fluted and hanging slightly down.

When the first discolourations appear, as the leaves mature they start to turn yellow, the harvest begins around July or August and demands much attentive labour. The tobacco is then cured in sheds with hot air or in traditional curing sheds or greenhouses. It is finally sorted during the autumn before being delivered to the cooperative purchasing centres.