In South America, we purchase tobacco in Brazil and Argentina. The farmer base in each origin varies significantly in terms of size and mechanization level, but our objectives are similar – improve the sustainability of the grower and tobacco-producing communities, minimize negative environmental impact and encourage safe working conditions for those involved in tobacco production.
In collaboration with several public and private institutions in Brazil, Alliance One carries out projects whose purpose is to prevent and eradicate the use of workers under the age of 18 on farms throughout various regions in Brazil. For example, our Awakening project, which was launched in Vera Cruz in 2010, serves students and families in seven tobacco-growing communities. It provides workshops in a wide variety of subjects, including computer skills, sports, arts, dance, music, environmental education and general tutoring. As a result of this program, there were noticeable improvements in students' academic improvement. We have similar projects throughout the tobacco-producing regions of the country.
To minimize the risk of child labor in Argentina, we work with schools in areas of high-risk of child labor to keep the children attending school. By hosting programs so that children can get to know each other, learn effective studying skills, improve their reading schools, etc., we help children make the transition from primary to secondary school and minimize the risk that they will return to the fields. We also help local communities build community centers where they can host activities such as sports, theatre, dancing or painting. Over time, community leaders take over management of the centers and they become self-sustainable.
For more information about our sustainability programs in South America, and around the world, check out our sustainability reports.