Tobacco leaf development programme

Tobacco leaf development programme plays an increasingly important role in ensuring a sustainable and high-quality supply of tobacco leaves.

The program applies advanced technologies to help farmers grow high-quality tobacco leaves without damaging the environment.The tobacco leaf development programme is one of our important activities in Vietnam. Since 2000, we have closely coordinated with partners to offer technical and financial assistance to thousands of farmers in Vietnam. We have worked with farmers who provide tobacco leaves for us and even farmers who provide tobacco leaves for our business partners and other companies. With experience in growing tobacco in 25 countries around the world, our tobacco leaf experts are sent to growing areas for efficient transfer of advanced cultivation and processing techniques to local farmers.

Our tobacco leaf development programme includes:

  • Sharing advanced experimental experiences around the world in agronomy, tobacco leaf curing and processing (reducing cost and increasing income for farmers while still ensuring competitiveness of the product)
  • Minimizing the dependence on chemical use in agriculture and controlling pesticide residues in products
  • Sharing advanced experimental experiences in environmental issues, including water resource conservation – avoiding ‘run off’ of agrochemicals and nutrients and overusing of fertilizers; soil conservation through good agricultural practices such as crop rotation, soil mulching, drainage, etc
  • Integrated Pest Management (IPM) – safety standards and alternatives to plant protection products
  • Efficient and sustainable use of wood and the use of alternative fuels
  • Developing the community and offering technical training
  • Sharing experimental experiences in occupational health and safety – focusing on improving farmer’s awareness of safety and hygiene standards at the workplaces

The programme is also active in gradually eliminating child labour abuse and promoting afforestation in tobacco growing areas.

Major tobacco growing areas under the programme include Tay Ninh, Gia lai, Dak Lak, Phu Yen, Cao Bang, Bac Kan and Lang Son. The programme has been going on since 2000 and attracted more than 4,000 farmers.

Apart from transferring knowledge and providing support through the tobacco leaf development programme, we guarantee purchase of tobacco leaves from suppliers who follow our Social Responsibility in Tobacco Production (SRTP) programme only. The program seeks to review and consider the operation of our suppliers to create a good practice between farmers and producers in activities related to environment and community. We have been actively participated in such fields than other tobacco companies and material suppliers by popularizing the programme among suppliers, not just farmers whom we support directly. To read more about the program in English, please visit the Responsible Leaf Production section at www.bat.com.

Specific aspects of Tobacco leaf development programme

Good management of seedlings significantly helps improve the growth and survival rate in the field. Effective farming measures to ensure seedlings have strong bare roots, like transplanting seedlings in paper bags (to avoid contamination in the field) and growing seedlings in styrofoam trays, for instance, will help farmers ensure consistent growth of their seedlings.

Conservation of water resources is a crucial aspect of tobacco growing, and we offer instructions to farmers on field models. We encourage farmers to use appropriate fertilizer fomulas based on soil analysis to prevent soil and water contamination, and to control irrigation and drainage to prevent fertilisers from being washed away or percolated.

Technology transfer is also being proceeded in tobacco growing areas where curing process depends on firewood and coal aiming to provide training and instruction for households to cure tobacco by using agro-wasteslike rice husk or coffee husk. Thus far the programme has helped more than 500 tobacco kilns usage switch from firewood to rice husk in provinces like Gia Lai, Phu Yen and Tay Ninh. We have also introduced high-performance curing kilns to farmers, offered technical support to improve 600 existing kilns in the northern region which helps save 20% of fuels needed for curing and increase the tobacco amount that can be used post-curing by 20%.

Pest management focuses on environmental protection, control of pesticide residues in products and control of production costs. We encourage the use of environmentally friendly agriculture technologies, including use of sunshine to sterilise cultivating screens, use of coconut oil to eliminate bud and use of neem extract to keep insect away. Farmers are trained and encouraged to use all available agricultural wastes in tobacco curing and herbal extractions to minimise the use of agrochemicals in cultivation while still ensuring high productivity.

The programme offers free trainings to local farmers  annually at tobacco purchase stations nationwide. Besides, through the programmme we send our agricultural experts to tobacco growing areas to work with farmers on the fields to help them turn theory into practice. Once the farmers are familiar with the techniques, they can share their knowledge with other farmers who do not grow tobacco.

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