Providing a helping hand
The farmers we work with are crucial to the success of our business and if they do well, we do well – so we make sure this happens by supporting them.
We have a long and proud history in agriculture, working directly with farmers around the world and advancing agricultural practices.
Today, we continue to provide on-the-ground advice and support to our contracted farmers, develop new technologies and conduct cutting-edge research – for example, into more sustainable leaf varieties.
The farmers we work with are valued business partners. We want them to feel confident about their future and to be self-sufficient and prosperous. This is not philanthropy; it’s a pragmatic, commercial approach to securing our supply chain and ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers.
This is especially important today when we are facing more and more challenges in agriculture. These include increasing demand for land and natural resources, food security, child labour, urban migration and ageing farmer populations.
We work as partners with over 90,000 farmers worldwide. Our leaf managers and technicians worldwide provide these farmers with agronomy support and engage with farming communities in all our tobacco growing locations.
Our Extension Service field technicians are local experts. They work in the field with farmers, agreeing contracts, supplying seed and offering advice on propagation, the safe use of agrochemicals and integrated pest management.
They provide farmers with access to farming methods and technologies that might otherwise be beyond their reach, for example, new seed varieties or fuel efficient curing barns.
Engaging with our contracted farmers in this way helps make their farms viable and efficient. In doing so, we protect the security and quality of our tobacco leaf supply. But our support goes beyond just growing tobacco.
Leaf technicians also advise on techniques that help protect the environment; everything from reducing water demand through efficient irrigation, to managing biodiversity and preserving natural forests.
And agronomy support also covers areas of agricultural practice other than just tobacco farming. Our technicians provide farmers with advice about how to improve the quality and yield of food crops, making them more self-sufficient.
While the support we provide our contracted farmers undoubtedly brings advantages to our business in terms of access to high quality tobacco leaf, it also plays a significant role in improving local environments and livelihoods and in helping mitigate and reduce the impacts tobacco growing may have.