They grow, we grow: helping farmers to thrive
Tobacco leaf development programme plays an increasingly important role in ensuring a sustainable and high-quality supply of tobacco leaf.
The programme applies advanced technologies and Sustainable Tobacco Production programme to help farmers grow high-quality tobacco leaf 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 support and financial assistance indirectly to thousands of farmers in Vietnam. We have worked with farmers who provide tobacco leaf for us and even farmers who provide tobacco leaf for our business partners and other companies. With experience in growing tobacco in 16 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.
The programme is also active in eliminating child labour abuse and promoting afforestation in tobacco growing areas.
Apart from transferring knowledge and providing technical support through the tobacco leaf development programme, we purchase 100% of tobacco leaf from suppliers who follow our Sustainable Tobacco Production (STP) programme. The programme seeks to create a robust, comprehensive and focused, single umbrella sustainability programme for the tobacco industry, ensuring continuous improvement through clear measurement. 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.
Good management of seedlings significantly helps improve the growth and survival rate in the field. Effective farming measures to ensure seedlings have strong root system, like transplanting seedlings in paper bags (to avoid contamination in the field) and growing seedlings in plastic and soft 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 formulas based on soil analysis to prevent soil and water contamination, and to control irrigation and drainage to prevent fertilizers 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 at to provide training and instruction for households to cure tobacco by using agricultural by-products like rice husk or coffee husk. Thus, far the programme has helped more than 700 curing barns switch from firewood to rice husk in provinces like Gia Lai. We have also introduced high-performance curing barns to farmers, offered technical support to improve 600 existing barns in the northern region which helps save 20% of fuels needed for curing and increase the usable cured leaf by 20%. Moreover, we continue to improve normal curing barn become insulated barn that is is applied in Gia Lai and Tay Ninh with the efficiency is reduce 15% cured fuel.
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 sterilize cultivating screens, Farmers are trained and encouraged to use all available agricultural by-products in tobacco curing and botanical to minimize 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 programme 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.
The international marketing principles are our minimum standards and we apply them when they are not included in local laws. However, where local laws are stricter than or override our marketing principles, we commit to highly comply the local laws