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Tobacco Production in Hungary

Photographer: Attila Balazs


The role of the tobacco industry is vital to the Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County region of Hungary. Working with tobacco provides a livelihood for around 16,000 undereducated workers in Szabolcs-Szatmar-Bereg County. About 90 per cent of these laborers are unskilled, 70 per cent are women and 50 per cent are Roma.


The harvest is performed in a traditional way, manually, which enables the worker to examine the leaves’ maturity and colour during the harvest, whereas during the industrial harvest the combine cannot select among the leaves.


The laborers work under difficult conditions. No matter what weather conditions, like heatwaves, they have to work all day long in the tobacco fields. But what is more difficult, is to stoop all day long. Furthermore, tobacco leaves have a gluey grease, which makes the harvest more arduous.


The production is seldom exported, with the main part of the tobacco remains in Hungary.