We are currently supporting the following Sustainable agriculture projects:
Developing Emerging Farmers – BAT South Africa’s largest project in the Sustainable Agriculture space is our funding of the non-tobacco crops of small tobacco farmers, with the aim of helping them create a more holistic farming system. Through crop rotation, the farmers are able to increase income and food security.
Support for small-scale tobacco farmers – Agriculture is an important contributor to the South African economy and fundamental to our business. Since 2011, we have supported small-scale tobacco farmers in Mpumalanga and the North West Provinces. Through our collaboration with agricultural specialists and development organisations in these areas, we provide these previously disadvantaged farmers with expert training and development, as well as crop production support. BAT South Africa procures 100% of the tobacco leaf grown by these farmers, thereby creating a sustainable market for them. Other initiatives in these communities ensure that empowerment is not limited to just the farmers, but influences the entire community by addressing issues such as food security and education.
Geranium oil farm, Marblehall, Limpopo – One of our most successful farming groups comprises ten women farmers, growing rose geranium. BAT South Africa collaborated on this project with an organisation that specialises in enterprise development with a particular focus on agro-processing and essential oils farming and marketing. The collective of women struggled to earn an income to support their families. A previous project to farm rose geranium plants and distil their oil stopped when the plants reached the end of their natural lives. Now the land was lying fallow. BAT South Africa contracted the women to grow tobacco, provided support in crop production, and committed to procuring 100% of their tobacco leaf product, creating a sustainable market for them. We noticed the unused equipment for the rose geranium venture and investigated ways to re-establish the operation. As a rotational crop, tobacco can only grow for one or two seasons in the same fields before they need to rest. During the resting period, other crops can be planted. Farming rose geraniums ensures the fields are always productive. BAT South Africa contracted African Rose Oils for their expertise and assistance. The project entails infrastructure development, mentorship, training and supervision of production as well as distillation. African Oils also works with agricultural experts, the local farmers and social workers to assist with any community challenges or broader business needs.