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Sustainable agriculture and Farmer livelihoods

Tobacco leaf is our primary input material and the farmers who grow it are crucial to the continued success of our business.

We do not own tobacco farms or directly employ farmers – but our approach to agriculture and working with farmers means that we have strong influence on their livelihoods.

Our leaf operation has been carried out hand in hand with local farmers for well over 80 years. Our farmers are guaranteed a competitive price at the start of the growing season and guaranteed the purchase of the full crop harvested.

Tobacco Cultivation Facts

  • We source 100% of our tobacco leaf requirement from more than 20,000 local tobacco farmers who utilize less than 0.01% of the total arable land in Sri Lanka.
  • We purchase more than 2,500 tonnes of tobacco each year from these farmers, injecting over LKR 1.5 billion to the rural economy.
  • Cultivation is carried out under close supervision of the Department of Agriculture in limited extents in Pollonaruwa, Anuradhapura, Ampara, Badulla, Matale, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya and Kurunegala Districts.
  • More than 80% of CTC’s tobacco leaf requirement is grown during the “Yala” season. Tobacco cultivation on paddy land is carried out only during the off season for paddy when the farmers have no alternative but to grow a cash crop for the lack of adequate water and irrigation.  
  • Water requirement for tobacco cultivation is 1/8th that of paddy.
  • Tobacco farmers use soil conservation techniques such as Sloping Agricultural Land Technology (SALT) and use compost produced from tobacco dust as organic fertilizer. Through our involvement they also place a high level of focus on biodiversity and environmental protection through Sustainable Tobacco Production (STP)
  • We eliminated the use of fire wood in the tobacco curing process in Sri Lanka as early on as 1995. Tobacco curing is carried out using 100% renewable fuel source – paddy husk, which is a waste biomass.
  • Tobacco farmers are encouraged to grow other field crops alongside Tobacco.

A Strategic Approach

Agricultural supply chains are particularly vulnerable to a range of challenges, including climate change water scarcity, increasing demand for land and natural resources, rural poverty, social inequality, child labour and ageing farmer populations. Tobacco is no exception.

At CTC, we have a long and proud history of working directly with tobacco farmers across the island and advancing good agricultural practices. This benefits our farmers by giving them the resources and support they need to be successful, as well as helping to secure our long-term supply of tobacco leaf and ensuring the integrity and quality of our products to satisfy our consumers.

We see an opportunity for us to build on this longstanding approach, to further enhance the livelihoods of farmers and their communities. We focus on two key programmes to ensure the long-term sustainability of our tobacco leaf supply chain and to enhance farmer livelihoods:

  • Sustainable Tobacco Programme: We use the industry-wide Sustainable Tobacco Programme to conduct formal assessments and independent on-site reviews for 100% of our tier one tobacco leaf suppliers, including all our own leaf operations, to ensure alignment with international standards, such as for human rights and environmental protection
  • Thrive Thrive sustainable agriculture and farmer livelihoods programme: Our Thrive programme goes beyond audit and compliance by taking a more holistic and collaborative approach to identifying and addressing long-term challenges that have an impact on the livelihoods of farming communities and the sustainability of agriculture.
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