This time we want to show you how they sort out and press tobacco to sell it to tobacco factories. Welcome to this tobacco plantation near Chilik Village, Kazakhstan.
At this plantation, they dry tobacco leaves in the sun for three to four days. They pick the tobacco leaves up early in the morning, when they are relatively soft after moist night air.
After that, they make bunches out of the tobacco leaves to dry them in the shed protecting them from wind and moist.
They store the tobacco leaves like that until sorting.
In mid September, they sort out and press tobacco to later sell it.
Tobacco sorting takes place in an enclosed space.
Both men and women participate in sorting. There is work for everyone.
These are mostly guest workers from Kyrgyzstan who grow tobacco in Kazakhstan. In December, when the tobacco they have grown is sold, they return to Kyrgyzstan to their families.
They sort out six types of tobacco. Main criteria are color and quality of the leaf. Each worker can sort out up to 60 kg of tobacco per day.
They put the leaves one on one in the same direction and press them to make stacks of tobacco from 14 to 18 kg each.
Before transporting the tobacco to the tobacco factory, the stacks are wrapped into linen.
The company accepts from 800 to 1,000 stacks of tobacco daily.
After the economic crisis, the number of tobacco farmers has decreased. Thus, in 2022, there were 4,700 farmers growing tobacco, and in 2011 there are just 200 of them left.
Each hectare of land gives the farmer from 1.7 tons to 2.5 tons of tobacco.
They deliver the tobacco to the tobacco factory all together, the farmer and his employees. They do so to eliminate calculation mistakes.
Each worker receives from 1,000 dollars to 1,500 dollars for the six months of working non-stop.
“No smoking!”, “Vehicles carrying tobacco that are not curtained are prohibited from entering the the tobacco factory”.
One of the farmers.
Preparing stacks for an inspection.
Tobacco factories are interested to purchase high quality tobacco that is why they often supply tobacco plantations with good tobacco seeds and consult their owners on agricultural equipment, harvesting, etc.
In Kazakhstan, there are six large tobacco factories which share the tobacco market of the country.
An expert is scanning tobacco leaves to identify their sort which will influence the tobacco’s purchase price.
It is important that both the farmer and his employees participated in tobacco inspection to know the price set for each stack.
They stick a bar code to each stack containing all information about its producer and date when the stack was purchased.
It is preferable that each leaf remained intact. It depends on the climate, treatment and type of the ground where tobacco has been grown.
From tobacco grown in Kazakhstan, tobacco companies make cigarettes to export them to Russia, Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Lithuania.
Another expert is going to identify the humidity level of the tobacco brought for sale.
It is going to take him about 7 minutes.
If the tobacco humidity is higher than 18%, the farmer will take the tobacco back to dry it again.
Inspected, tobacco stacks get transported to the storehouse.
Stacks are stored according to their sort.
Within just one year, Philip Morris Kazakhstan tobacco factory purchases up to 400 tons of tobacco.