According to several historical sources : (http://www.France-tabac.com/histoire.htm),
tobacco was probably used for the first time by the Mayas, These latter
transmitted it to Indians of North America, who believed Tobacco had
medicinal properties and would use it during ceremonies.
The Arawaks, caribbean original people, used to smoke tobacco in a long
pipe called Tobago, which gave the name tobacco. Brought from Saint
Dominguez to Spain in 1556, tobacco was introduced in France the same
year by the French diplomat Jean Nicot, who gave the plant its generic
In 1585, the English navigator Francis Drake brought back some in England,
and the habit of smoking the pipe spread among courtesans of the Queen
Elizabeth thanks to the English explorer Walter Raleigh. The use of
tobacco rapidly spread throughout Europe and in the 17th Century, it
had reached China, Japan and the western coast of Africa.
Tobacco in Tunisia
1830 the plant arrived from Europe to the northern parts of
Tunisia where it was cultivated .
1870 and 1876 : the State was in charge for the direct exploitation
of tobacco monopoly by the creation of the first service of tobacco
1877 and 1890 : The exploitation of tobacco cultures was ceased
to a farmer.
1890 : The colonial authority decided to fight fraud, one of
the main reasons preventing direct control through the creation of a
structure that would be able to cover the whole country. It was obvious
that the direct management by the State would constitute the sole efficient
means to bring this phenomenon to an end.
1891 : Creation of the 1st Tobacco Department under the direct
authority of the State, with the full monopole on tobacco, salt, and
: Appearance of the 1st law organizing the tobacco sector in
Tunisia. Matches and playing cards have been added to products managed
by the monopole.
During the 1914/1918 war, the Tobacco department assured
very important supplying operations to provide the field with sugar,
tea, rice and candles. Throughout time, other productions were added:
Caps Tanning (Chechias), color additives for wool, color dozes for agricultural
1923 : Services reporting to warehouses, retailers and fraud
repression (only in terms of culture and sale inspection), were withdrawn
from the former Monopole Department, to constitute a new structure called:
Indirect Contributions Department.
1964 : the Monopole is administered by a public institution,
having the industrial and commercial character, morally and financially
autonomous, called the National Manufacture for Tobacco and Matches
: Integration of RNTA’s staff in the public service.
1981 : Creation of the Kairouan Tobacco Manufacture (MTK),
with the same vocation and system as the RNTA to respond to the local
market’s needs for cigarettes, 97% of which are Tunisian labels.
: Sub-contracting the 20 Mars Inter at Rinzos &Ormond in
: Signing of a multi-year commercial contract between FJ Berrus
(BAT) and RNTA for the supply of the local market with the cigarettes
20 Mars International.
: Partial recovery of the production of the 20 Mars Inter and
Light and launching of the pilot workshop at the RNTA.
: Launching of the filtered Boussetta and the Mentholated 20
March 1997 : MTK signed a partnership
contract with the company JTI (then called RJR).
- Promulgation of Law N°98-17 dated February 23, 1998 related to preventing
the drawbacks of smoking.
- Introduction of light tobacco in north-western cultures.
1999 and in 2003 :
Renewal of partnership contracts between RNTA and MTK on the one hand
and JTI and Inter-Tab Tunisia (subsidiary of BAT) on the other.
- Beginning of the first modernizing phase of the General Preparations
- RNTA’s pilot workshop is equipped with modern equipments (two GD X2
and X3 and two Protos 70 and 80) producing 120 million packets of 20
Mars International a year.
- Acquisition of new equipment to the General Preparations Workshop
in the framework of resuming the production of scaferlati used for the
20 Mars Inter.
- MTK has achieved since October 2005 the long expected objective to
fully bring back the production of "Light Cristal " with an
investment of six million dinars.
- Starting of the manufacture of the scaferlati for VMI
- Installation of management software business in the distribution centers
- Sub-contracting the Mars Inter at TTI (Tunisian Tobacco Investment).
- Launching of the consultation for sub-contracting of the VMI/VML/VMM
- Starting of the manufacture of the scaferlati for VML.
- Installation of new equipements.
- Manufacturing the total needs of RNTA for the scaferlati (VMI/VML)
- Opening distribution Center of Sejoumi
- Installation of the new equipments thereby increasing the production of the VML to 285 million boxes per year.