Increasing Grower Profitability through Crop Diversification
Providing complementary crop inputs and agronomic support to increase the farmer's bottom line.
We are committed to enhancing the lives of our contracted farmers by providing tools and opportunities for income diversification with the potential for an increase in profitability, crop quality and yield improvements. In Brazil, approximately 75 percent of the Company’s contracted farmers produce maize along with tobacco; however, many lacked access to high-quality crop inputs such as seed, fertilizer and agronomic support. This prevented them from scaling up their production and limited their financial return.
The Company sought to remedy this issue and in June 2021 publicly announced its partnership with Bayer Crop Science to provide quality maize seeds and agronomic support to smallholder tobacco farmers in Brazil. Through the partnership, contracted growers were given access to Bayer’s maize seed varieties as well as fertilizer and hands-on guidance from the business’ agronomists and field technicians, helping improve crop quality and yield and, in turn, increasing the farmer’s bottom line.
During the 2020 growing season, Alliance One Brazil (AOB) implemented a pilot project in which approximately 2,300 of its contracted smallholder tobacco farmers received a high-quality agronomic package for maize. Prior to the project’s implementation, our Brazilian tobacco farmers that also cultivate maize produced on average less than 5,500 kilograms per hectare. The agronomic package that we provide gives growers access to some of the most advanced technology available on the market, potentially increasing yields to over 10,000 kilograms per hectare.
As a result of the positive feedback, AOB offered the opportunity to participate in the program across its grower base during the 2021 growing season. Following the season’s completion, participating farmers reported a 15 percent increase in maize yield compared to the 2020 growing season, increasing the farmer’s income by $270 per hectare on average. This additional income supplements the livelihood of our contracted growers and is an important piece in addressing other systemic issues such as child labor, deforestation and more.
Over the next three years, we intend to expand the project to include other crops—and other countries.