Sustainable agriculture & farmer livelihoods

Our contracted tobacco farmers are valued business partners and we want them to be self-sufficient and prosperous.

We recognise that tobacco leaf is the most essential part of our products, therefore, advancing sustainable agriculture practices, supporting farmer livelihoods and protecting the environment is a pragmatic, commercial approach to ensuring we have an efficient, responsive, productive and secure agricultural supply chain, ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers.

Sustainable partnerships with farmers

Sustainable agricultureOur support for our contracted farmers is anchored on THRIVE, our Group sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods programme which is based on an internationally recognised framework covering five focus areas, known as ‘Capitals’ -  Financial capital, Social capital, Human capital, Natural capital and Physical capital. The programme provides the following support to farmers:

  • Field extension services: this includes training on sustainable agricultural practices such as crop milestones, pest and disease monitoring and surveillance, agrochemical and fertilizer application techniques and monitoring, crop ration and health/hygiene aspects of tobacco farming such as Green Tobacco Sickness (GTS). In addition, we provide training and engagement on sustainable and positive farmer group dynamics and a framework to drive afforestation programmes.
  • We facilitate crop and health insurance for our farmers to ensure access and smooth administration of the services. In 2017, over 2,000 farmers received some KSh 79 million for crop losses due to adverse weather conditions including drought and flooding.
  • Farm inputs and gear: we provide interest free loans for procurement of farm inputs such as high-quality fertilizers & pesticides, harvesting and curing facilities such as hessians, iron sheets and personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • We support farmer Savings and Credit Cooperative Organization (SACCO) programs to help them generate additional and sustainable income. We also contract the SACCOs to plant and distribute tree seedlings for our afforestation programme.

Food Security

To enhance soil nourishment and promote food security, we encourage our farmers to plant non-tobacco crops. We provide them with certified maize seeds, in addition to crops grown on their own initiative, including, beans, green grams, sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes.