Crop diversification on tobacco growing farms has for decades been encouraged by the sector as a manner of complementing farmers’ income. This guideline has gained momentum over the past years through partnerships with public organs. Currently, according to data released by Afubra, tobacco farmers devote no more than 17% of their holdings to tobacco. The rest of the area is for other agricultural activities or for livestock operations (corn, black-beans, soybeans, livestock, pastureland, ponds, native forests and reforestation).
Learn about the programs that stimulate diversification initiatives:
For more than 30 years the tobacco companies have been encouraging the farmers to reforest as a manner to diversify the holding. Besides preserving the native forests and providing wood for curing their tobacco, farmers can turn surplus sales into an income source.
In place since 1985, the program expects to involve all the 160 thousand tobacco growers in South Brazil, encouraging them to grow alternative crops, taking advantage of tobacco residual fertilizer, thus reducing production costs. Besides the field structure of the companies associated with the SindiTabaco, technicians of the partner entities will also do their part in promoting the advantages derived from these off-season crops.
Curing-barns already existing on the holdings, utilized for curing tobacco, could also be used for drying and warehousing cereal crops during their idle months. Besides direct sales of grains, bringing in more income, this production could equally boost subsistence agriculture and pave the way for other diversification moves on the farm, such as livestock operations. The Rio Grande do Sul State program, launched in October 2013, jointly with SindiTabaco and Afubra, is aimed at achieving 30.7 thousand farms in ten years.
The use of technology to boost the quality and the productivity rates of the fields is the relevant objective of the More Water, More Income program, devised by the Rio Grande do Sul State Government. The tobacco sector has signed a term of cooperation in order to provide the small holdings with irrigation systems at affordable cost and reasonable conditions to be complied with by the interested parties.
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