british american tobacco p.l.c. sustainability report 2011 - Viewpoint from an employee in Nigeria

 
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Sustainability Report 2011
I get to see first hand how the work we do helps to improve the quality of life in these farming communities. Adeladan Ademola Amidu, Leaf Training and Sustainability Supervisor, British American Tobacco Nigeria

When I first joined British American Tobacco Nigeria to work in the leaf department, I never imagined the scope of the work involved.

Of course, I knew we’d be giving farmers agronomy support. That basically means we visit farms and provide training sessions where they can get advice on agricultural best practice, from water protection to the safe handling of agrochemicals.

What I hadn’t realised is how much advice is given on other crops – it’s not just tobacco. So, for example, we encourage crop rotation. It’s good for the farmers, as it means they can grow food crops to help feed their families. And it’s good for us – we want them to use fertilisers to improve the quality of their tobacco crops, but fertilisers are increasingly expensive. If they’re growing a food crop afterwards, the fertilisers they’ve bought for their tobacco crop are still in the soil, so the food crop benefits. And that means the farmers are more willing to spend money on the fertiliser.

Curing fuel is a big issue for us at the moment. We’re encouraging our farmers to establish sustainable wood lots, so that they have a source of wood for curing their tobacco leaf, without having to take it from the natural forest. And we’re exploring other fuels, like sawdust briquettes, as well as more efficient curing barns, like rocket barns that need only about half the wood that traditional barns do.

I hadn’t appreciated how complicated the child labour issue was before I started working here or how much of our time with farmers would be spent on it. I think it’s really important for people to understand that it’s considered normal among the local communities for children to help out on their parents’ farms. It becomes child labour when the ‘helping out’ starts to interfere with the child’s welfare, safety or education. It’s not always an easy distinction to make, so we help the farmers to understand where the line needs to be drawn and the steps they need to take, like making sure children don’t handle chemicals.

All these aspects of my job make for an interesting and challenging role – no day is ever the same! And it’s extremely satisfying – I get to see first hand how the work we do helps to improve the quality of life in these farming communities and that means I go home proud.

Adeladan Ademola Amidu, Leaf Training and Sustainability Supervisor, British American Tobacco Nigeria
 

TOBACCO GROWING IN NIGERIA

In Oyo State, South West Nigeria, tobacco is the most widely cultivated cash crop.

The company works with over 850 independent farmers and purchased approximately 2,000 tonnes of leaf from these farmers in 2011.
STAKEHOLDER VIEWPOINT

It has been a wonderful business relationship with British American Tobacco Nigeria. It is commendable that the company is the only one in the Oyo North area of Nigeria that offers technical support to farmers for tobacco and food crop production. The presence of the company here has helped to create job opportunities for our people.

Mr Alani Adewuni, tobacco grower, Igboho community, Oyo State, Nigeria

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