Sustainable agriculture covers our contribution to the social, economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture, as well as wider environmental issues. It includes our efforts to improve biodiversity and access to water, afforestation, programmes to prevent child labour, grants for agricultural research, and training to help farmers grow tobacco and other vegetable crops on a rotational basis.
In 2011, we launched the new era farmers project to facilitate transformation within the tobacco industry in South Africa. Since inception, the initiative has been funded wholly by BAT SA. The project creates new era farmers, meaning tobacco producers within previously marginalised communities in suitable agricultural areas of South Africa.
These new era farmers produce sun-cured Virginia tobacco and food crops (vegetable, maize and bean production) on a rotational farming basis to ensure that their crop mix provides a sustainable source of financial and food security and they have a positive impact for their communities.
This type of investment not only naturally complements our own agricultural, environmental and biodiversity conservation practices, but also supports transformation in the South African economic and agricultural sectors.
The objective of our sustainable agriculture initiatives is the economic and social empowerment of aspirant farmers who require the necessary skills and assistance to become self-sufficient.
The initiative currently empowers 164 farmers in total, farming at 15 sites in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, touching 4 300 beneficiaries, and offering support through incubation, training and mentorship.