Within Social pillar, farmer livelihoods is one of the key indicators showing the level of Sustainability of Tobacco Supply Chain at BAT Vietnam. The “Ripe Top” project drives this commitment through enhancing the incomes of farmers, as well as helps produce better leaf quality profile.
BAT Vietnam first piloted the “Ripe Top” project during crop 2022. The project covered over 18.6 hectares with seven farmers in the tobacco leaf growing areas of Krong Bong District, Dak Lak province.
The Leaf team worked closely with the selected farmers to guide and support the implementation and ensure the required quality standard. As its name “Ripe Top”, the targeted outcome is the upper stalk leaf position with desired maturity.
After the first year of implementation, about 28.8 tonnes of green leaf were produced, equivalent to 1.54 ton per hectare which has 12% of higher price per kg than that of tobacco leaves from farmer not participating in project.
With the quality of leaf had been passed the BAT Group’s assessment, the plan in 2023 expands the project to 180 hectares with 150 tonnes of packed leaf with the aim to increase the positive impact to farmer livelihood and company tobacco quality profile.
During the crop 2023, the project team has been striving for the project implementation in much larger scale, which requires much more effort to fulfil project goal. The project was present in 2 different leaf growing areas, in Dak Lak and Gia Lai province with about 56 farmers participated, 178 hectares in total.
The project team members, in collaboration with field technician force of Leaf suppliers, have conducted several activities - including training, field visit to transfer and support with technical package, and monitor the project, ensuring the execution run smoothly as planned.
With the support from Leaf suppliers and farmers, the project has reaped the exceptional results. Particularly, 177 tonnes of ripe packed leaf was produced with the quality meeting the requirement of the Group’s standards. This packed leaf grade has been the first ever produced in Vietnam, which can be substitute for imported leaf.
Moreover, the livelihoods of farmers has been also enhanced through this project. With each kilogram of tobacco leaf sold, farmers can earn 10% more for about an average of 1,500 kilograms of tobacco cured leaf per hectare.
The “Ripe Top” project has also contributed to the total savings of the corporate in 2023. To amplify this growth momentum, the project team plans to expand the scale to the next level by leveraging the current success and resources. The target is to produce new ripe grade and increase the volume in crop 2024.