Some West African countries like Nigeria are widely into the cultivation of Tobacco, in South West Nigeria, tobacco is the most widely cultivated cash crop and the states include; Osun, Oyo, Kwara and Sokoto state.
Tobacco known also as Nicotiana tabacum has a wide variety of more than 70 species known. It requires warm temperatures for an effective growth and comes in lighter or darker brown colour which is dependent on the colour of the soil.
The seeds are very tiny and shouldn’t be placed more in a particular place to enable effective growth and avoid it crowding too much.
The seeds are grown by sprinkling the seeds on the top of the soil in a nursery and transplanted to the field or main cultivation site until it matures about 60-90 days after sprouting out.
And as the plants grows it require topping which involve removing of the tobacco flower long after it has been pollinated to avoid using some of the nutrients that the plant might need and suckering which is carried out by removing all the unproductive leaves of the plant so that the nutrients can go to the healthy leaves.
Harvesting of tobacco can be of different ways but currently, it is harvested by pulling individual leaves off the stalk as they ripened after which it dried accordingly depending on the type of tobacco and its intended use.
The tobacco is sometimes tied in small bundles and allowed to age for about 2-3years to reduce bitterness and improves its flavour.
Though tobacco planting is legal to some extents, it possesses a risk factor for many diseases affecting the heart, liver, lungs, as well as many cancers and has been world's single greatest cause of preventable death.
In Nigeria and in most West African countries, tobacco cultivation and marketing is on the increase, and various campaigns and health programmes has been put in place by the Nigerian government to help enlighten the youths especially on the effect of tobacco.
In order to make the awareness more effective, the Nigerian government put a ban on the tobacco companies in the areas of public advert and also to strictly have a health warning on the tobacco packs.