Alliance One purchases tobacco in Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Uganda. In each of these origins, we are focused on improving the sustainability of our contracted growers and their communities as well as minimizing the impact of tobacco production on the environment.
In each of these origins, we contract directly with growers to help them produce tobacco in a compliant and sustainable manner. One of our key priorities is on helping growers become more efficient and improve their profitability.
By helping growers understand the principles of Good Agricultural Practices, we are able to help growers produce a higher quality and yielding tobacco crop as well as become net producers and sellers of food. Our crop input packages, which we provide to contracted growers at the start of the season, include a number of items which are needed in order to have a successful season – and we typically include corn seeds as well.
Climate change has had, and will continue to have, a significant impact on our African origins. Through our wood management programs, we are actively working to minimize deforestation and maintain natural forests. Each origin has its own wood management program that follows our strategy to reduce fuel requirements, replace wood with sustainable fuel sources and reforest affected areas. As a global company, we are able to develop programs that meet local needs that leverage best practices learned in other countries. Last year, in Malawi, AOI's Integrated Production System (IPS) growers produced Flue-Cured Virginia tobacco that was grown from 100 percent sustainable sources. On the Burley side, 100 percent of our contracted growers will use live barns by 2020. We continue to provide all of our contracted growers with tree seedlings, on an annual basis, to encourage them to have their own woodlots.
Management of water resources is another area of focus for our region. We are harvesting rainwater in our own factories and working with local communities to improve their access to water. To take advantage of the long rainy season in Tanzania, our team invested in two dams that allow us to collect the water and use it for tobacco processing during the dry season. The dams, combined with other re-use and efficiency projects, have resulted in Alliance One Tobacco Tanzania reducing its purchased water consumption by 60% since 2010.
In addition to helping growers become more profitable, we are also working with them to help them continuously improve their labor practices through our Agricultural Labor Practices (ALP) program.
For more information about our sustainability programs in Africa, and around the world, check out our sustainability reports.