Providing support and creating opportunities
Many of our farmers live and work in remote rural areas. Helping to build and strengthen farmer networks in these areas can provide them with support and create opportunities for sharing best practice, which in turn helps our tobacco growing areas continue to be effective operations.
The regular training, workshops and seminars we run, help to facilitate networks among our farmers’ communities. In some countries, we go beyond this by establishing formal farmer clubs or forums as part of wider community projects.
For example, our company in Bangladesh has established over 50 farmer clubs in collaboration with the Government’s Department of Agricultural Extension. The clubs are led by committees made up of local community members and company representatives. They include a combination of classroom training and field work, on areas such as alternative fuels, pesticide management, irrigation techniques, green manuring and composting. The training provided covers other crops such as rice and vegetables, not just tobacco.
On the Indonesian island of Lombok, deforestation and land clearance has contributed to declining water flows, creating a high risk to the rural communities’ water supplies.
We worked with Fauna & Flora International, as part of the Biodiversity Partnership, to try to address this. The project took a multi-stakeholder approach involving central, provincial and district government agencies, local NGOs, the University of Mataram and local communities, including our tobacco farmers. Activities have included establishing community groups and networks, providing training on water management and alternative fuels, restoring watersheds by planting trees, and facilitating the development of a 15-year Integrated Watershed Management Plan for the Renggung area, signed by the Head of the Central Lombok District Government.