british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Curing barn design to reduce wood fuel use

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Sustainability Report 2011

Some tobacco farmers use wood as a fuel for curing tobacco. We have a target of zero use of natural forest for our directly contracted farmers curing fuels by 2015. Among other things we are doing to reach this target, British American Tobacco is looking at innovative designs for curing barns that optimise fuel efficiency.

A rocket barnOne design is the rocket barn, which uses a double chimney system to draw air through the inner barn. This results in a faster curing process that uses much less wood fuel than conventional barns. The rocket barns are suitable for small-scale farmers as they are affordable, easy to build and designed for small- to medium-scale production levels.

The barns were designed by Peter Scott and the Burn Design Lab and have been used in countries such as Tanzania and Malawi for some years now. From January 2010 to April 2011, our company in Zimbabwe collaborated with Northern Tobacco and the Tobacco Research Board on a pilot to assess the performance of the barn design.

Test rocket barns were constructed at the Tobacco Research Board’s Kutsaga Research Station in Harare, with a conventional barn being used as a control. Results taken over a two-month period showed that rocket barns can use up to 50 per cent less wood fuel. British American Tobacco Zimbabwe is now encouraging its contracted farmers to switch to rocket barns, with a goal for them to do so by the end of 2015.


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