Reaping Stages (Saada 6)

Reaping Stages (Saada 6)
1. Picking Tobacco

The best time to pick tobacco is in the early morning before sunrise. At this time the leaves at such time contain the highest quantity of sugar and the lowest quantity of starch, which increase quality. Picking comprises the following steps:
  • Removal of the leaves found at the bottom of the sapling and destroying them. This boosts the growth rate of the other leaves, thereby increasing their weight.
  • Fully-grown leaves are picked. The front and side edges of the leaves should be slightly dry and yellowish in color
  • Picking should be carried out before sunrise, and also at sundown. No picking should be carried out at day time because the leaves stick to each other and lose their quality. Tobacco is a sensitive plant and only three or four leaves can be picked at a time.
  • The remaining ripe leaves can also be picked.
  • The picked leaves are placed in wooden boxes or in large containers and are covered to keep the leaves safe and to prevent splitting or breaking.
2. Stitching

The leaves are stitched together by size and ripeness using twine strings. The leaves on each string are placed face-to-face to facilitate ventilation, removal of humidity and to prevent darkening.
3. Etiolating

Etiolating is the process where chemical changes occur inside the leaves. It typically takes place in dark areas, as light will delay the removal of chlorophyll. The etiolating process is carried out by hanging the stitched leaves on wooden rods inside a special room at a temperature of 16-32 degrees centigrade and 85% humidity. The humidity is maintained by sprinkling water on the leaves and ground for a period of 3-6 days. During the process the leaves turn from green to yellow.
4. Dehydration

Once the leaves are yellow, the dehydration process begins. The leaves are hung on rods in an open yard until they turn light brown. The leaves are suspended 50 cm from the ground and 20 cm away from one another. While dehydrated, the leaves are occasionally sprinkled with water to darken them. In July and August the process takes 37-40 days, in September and October, it takes between 48 and 50 days.
5. Spreading

Spreading begins after the leaves have been dehydrated and takes place on wooden boards.
6. Layering

The spread, flat leaves are stacked in lines prior to packing. Each stack is referred to as a 'chair' and is a hollow stack of not more than 50 cm tall to avoid compression of the leaves which would lead to decay.
7. Packing

Regie supplies farmers with standardized wooden packing boxes. Tobacco or tunbac leaves are packed according to their variety and are loosely packed in order to avoid rotting. The leaves are left slightly damp in order to avoid breakage and the loose packaging allowing for ventilation.
8. Storage of Tobacco Crops by Farmers

The tobacco boxes are stored in dry rooms and temperature and ventilation is closely monitored.

Our sustainability
Everything you need to know about the history, economic contribution, growing, health effects and laws of tobacco
You’re a farmer?
Learn how to acquire a plantation permission, dates of proclamation and numbering and when and where can you deliver your crop and more.