British American Tobacco Advances Sustainable Agriculture to Support Farmers

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – To reduce global hunger and provide food security for about 10 billion people by 2050, farm productivity needs to be increased. Large agro-based companies need to continue to encourage crop diversification, the application of new technologies, and the development of agro-forestry models as a priority for farmers to improve their resilience.

British American Tobacco’s new report on Sustainable Agriculture and Farmer Livelihoods reflects the company’s commitment to working to enable prosperous livelihoods for all its farmers. The report provides an overview of how BAT invests over £60 million each year in promoting sustainable agriculture, through its global leaf research and development, and provides technological support to the farmers to enhance their productivity.

Global Leaf R&D

Through its global leaf research and development, BAT develops innovative sustainable farming technologies, techniques and best practices, which are rolled out to farmers as part of comprehensive agri-support packages. The company’s network of expert field technicians provides on-the-ground Extension Services support, technical assistance, and capacity building for more than 90,000 directly contracted farmers, helping them to run successful and profitable farms.

Managing Supply Chain Risks

BAT uses the industry-wide Sustainable Tobacco Program to conduct formal assessments and independent on-site reviews for 100 percent of its tier one tobacco leaf suppliers, including its own leaf operations, to ensure alignment with international standards, such as for human rights and environmental protection.

The company’s Thrive program goes beyond audit and compliance, by taking a more holistic and collaborative approach to identifying and addressing long-term challenges that have an impact on the livelihoods of farming communities and the sustainability of agriculture.

Partnering to Solve Complex Problems

Since 2000, BAT has worked as part of the Eliminating Child Labor in Tobacco Growing (ECLT) Foundation, which helps to strengthen communities and bring together key stakeholders to develop and implement local and national approaches to tackle child labor.

The company also runs or supports local projects for rural communities, in partnership with NGOs, industry associations, governments and academia, focused on areas such as afforesting, food security and clean water and sanitation.

New Technologies

BAT is adapting and developing mechanized solutions and curing technologies to help farmers scale up production, reduce manual labor and minimize health and safety risks; as well as to address environmental issues, such as deforestation, by reducing wood fuel use.

Examples include soil tilling and fertilizing machines; transplanting tools; automated harvesters; automated curing systems for alternative biomass fuels; and innovative designs for curing barns to minimize wood fuel consumption.

Nicandro Durante, Chief Executive, British American Tobacco, said that the company understands the challenges facing agriculture and rural communities. Therefore, its work includes multi-stakeholder projects that aim to enhance livelihoods, protect human rights, and lessen the environmental impacts of agriculture.

Source: 3BL Media

Image Credit: BAT