The tobacco plant is not an Indonesian origin, tobacco seeds bringing to Indonesia circa 16th century by the Portuguese trader, up to present day there are still many region in Indonesia famous with their tobacco cultivations.
That is why in Indonesia it called as tembakau, nearly same as the Portuguese tabago or tumbago.
Due to the Government policy, the plantation area of tobacco become smaller, decline and nearly gone. An example in North Sumatera (Sumatra), tobacco from Deli is the popular one for making a prime quality of cigars.
Tobacco wrapper leaves from Sumatra are often dark brown color and have natural flavors. The plantation belongs to the state-owned company of plantation (Perseroan Terbatas Perkebunan Nusantara or PTPN).
In Java, the tobacco plantation is still wide, because most of the big cigarette factory location in Java, like Djarum, Gudang Garam, Bentoel, Sampoerna, Wismilak, etc. Most of the factory also has their own plantation.
The biggest development of tobacco plantation in Indonesia happens in the era of Dutch colony, especially in 1830 under the Governor General Van den Bosch.
At first the Dutch opening a plantation around Semarang in Central Java, but that is fail. And in 1856 they opened new location in East Java, precisely in the area of Besuki regency.
The next two years another plantation in Klaten regency, Central Java, and later on in Jember regency, East Java.
Tobacco leaf from Besuki and Jember mostly uses for cigar blends as a filler.
The other plantation opens in Deli, North Sumatra circa 1863. The Deli tobacco famous in Europe uses for cigar wrapper.
Until present day, Besuki, Klaten and Deli popular as a central of tobacco leave uses for blending a cigar. Most of the leaves exported to Europe, the other buyers are coming from Central America region.
Tobacco leaves from Besuki and Klaten in the international market knowing as Java Tobacco, while tobacco from Deli it called as Sumatra tobacco.
Sumatra tobacco seeds come from the series of islands in Indonesia. The tobacco may be referred to as Java or Sumatra. The majority of wrapper leaf grown there is used in the manufacture of small cigars.
Indonesia is the biggest tobacco producers in the Asian, with a total production more than 162,000 tons a year.
Even those, because Indonesia also knowing as the biggest producer of clove cigarettes, the requirements are bigger than the tobacco products. The requirement of tobacco leaves in Indonesia is approximately 300,000 tons a year.
That is why, the cigarettes factory in Indonesia are still imported the tobacco leaves from many countries. Even the demand bigger than the stocks available, Indonesia still exported high quality tobacco leaf specially to Europe, that is already happen for more than 60 years.
Mostly the tobacco leaf coming from Deli that the cigar producers called Sumatra. The market is in Bremen tobacco stock market in Germany. In the colonial era until year 1959, the tobacco leaf from Indonesia selling in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Cultivation in Jember
Due to the decline of tobacco cultivation area in Indonesia, the products always unable to fulfill the demand of the market.
The prime cigar producers in the Netherlands; Cigar Group Holding BV (the Netherlands-Denmark) who’s produce Henri Wintermans Cigar and Nobel Cigars, looks like not so sure that Indonesia will be able to supply their needs of tobacco leafs in the future.
The others buyer from Europe is J. Cortez from Belgium, Royal Agio and De Olifant from the Netherlands, and Villiger a Switzerland-Germany. Java Cigar
Most of the main buyer already thinking to looks another source, but some of them have thinking to maintain the cultivation in Indonesia by themselves through an infestation in Indonesia.
The way is vary, buying the share of Indonesian prime cigarette companies like British American Tobacco, Philip Morris, etc. Or direct infestation like Villiger that they are opens the PT. Villiger Tobacco Indonesia in Jember and Mojokerto, East Java.
In the others matter, the tobacco seeds from Deli, North Sumatera nowadays planting in Ecuador, Brazil, Mexico and some countries in Africa.