The Director-General for External Action and Director of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation Enrique Barrasa attended the closing session of the 4th edition of the Entrepreneurship Program for Tobacco Growers and the launch of the Program´s 5th edition in Caceres on 26 November. The event, co-organized by the University of Extremadura and Phillip Morris Spain, is supported by the European Academy of Yuste Foundation, which has cooperated with the Entrepreneurship Program since the 2nd edition. Over 50 students received entrepreneurship training in Yuste.
Mr.Barrasa emphasized that the Entrepreneurship Program for Tobacco Growers is a “groundbreaking, top-level academic activity aimed at developing their leadership skills, an essential tool for those who currently intend to launch a business venture”.
In this spirit, Mr.Barrasa highlighted that the Program “fulfills those aims, since it equips students with the key tools for the smooth development and operation of their holdings”.
The Program, therefore, “ties in with several of the Extremadura government´s priorities, including support polices for entrepreneurship and support for the modernization and innovation of the agricultural sector.
The Director of the European Academy of Yuste Foundation noted that the tobacco industry is a very important industry in Extremadura – hence the government of Extremadura´s continued support – and stressed the efforts made to maintain production over the next few years in light of the challenges faced by the industry.
20,000 families in Extremadura earn their livelihood from tobacco production. The industry generates 5,000 jobs, including 2,000 for farmers. 93% of Spain´s tobacco production comes from Extremadura.
Exports of Extremaduran tobacco have grown over 41% over the past four years and have almost tripled since 2008. The European Union (EU) is Extremadura´s most important destination for tobacco exports: especially Portugal and France, which together account for almost half of Extremadura´s tobacco exports.
Spain is the third largest producer of tobacco leaf in the EU, producing 37.5 tonnes of dried tobacco leaves per year (17% share of the EU´s total tobacco production). Only Poland –second in the EU with an annual output of 49.5 tonnes and a 22% share of EU tobacco production – and Italy –with an output of 84.5 tonnes and a 37% share of EU tobacco production – produce more.
These figures prove, asMr.Barrasa pointed out, that tobacco is a key industry for Extremadura´s economy, especially in the La Vera district, where the European Academy of Yuste Foundation has its headquarters. That is why the Foundation, with a spirit of service towards its surrounding community, hosts the Entrepreneurship Program year after year and cooperates with the University of Extremadura.