BAT SA expands R50m emerging farmer initiative

Cape Town - British American Tobacco SA (BATSA) is expanding its Emerging Farmers Initiative (EFI) into more provinces in the country.

The addition of 155 emerging farmers to the programme is the biggest expansion since the EFI’s inception in 2011.

The initiative, which is a joint endeavour between BATSA, Mobile Agri Skills Development and Training (MASDT), Limpopo Tobacco Processors, and Lowveld Agricultural Services, supports emerging farmers to grow tobacco and other crops. There is a particular emphasis on skill development among the farmers.

BATSA has so far invested more than R50m in the programme, with more to come with the programme’s expansion. The company signed memoranda of understanding with the Department of Small Business Development, the Eastern Cape Development Corporation and the North West Provincial Government to ensure continued support for the programme.

An integral part of the initiative is the aim of establishing one hectare of food crops for every one hectare of tobacco that is planted.

Quantifying the impact of the Emerging Farmers Initiative, MASDT launched an independent economic impact study focusing on the Emerging Farmers Initiative. It showed a significant, positive impact by the programme for participating farmers.

The report examined the economic impact of MASDT in the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces. It found that the Emerging Farmers Infinitive is particularly successful.

The positive effect of the programme on the lives of participating farmers and their families includes food security and an increased asset base; direct and indirect educational benefits; direct and indirect financial benefits; enhanced psychological, social and emotional well-being; and personal development.

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