Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP)

Tobacco growers around the world have to comply with requirements contained in the Sustainable Tobacco Programme (STP). The programme has three broad pillars on which the STP is based, namely:

  • Crop, e.g. seedling production; integrated pest management (IPM); curing capacity.
  • Environment, e.g., water management; soil management; pollution control.
  • People, e.g. child labour; handling and use of crop protection agents; fair labour practices.

For every criterion under each pillar, a guideline is compiled by the supplier / contracting company and where necessary, a training document is compiled. The information is communicated to tobacco growers and / or the necessary training is provided. Growers then provide feedback on all criteria and whether or not he or she complies.  Thereafter, the supplier / contracting company must verify whether the grower has done what is stated in his or her feedback and a percentage of compliance to the STP is determined.  Where a problem area exists, an action plan is developed to rectify the problem.

In South Africa, flue-cured tobacco growers are contracted by Limpopo Tobacco Processors (LTP) and most dark air-cured tobacco growers are contracted by Universal Leaf South Africa (ULSA).  These growers sign annual contracts and in these contracts, there are listed requirements related to STP which growers have to meet. These requirements include:

  • Ensuring fair on-farm labour practices in accordance with labour legislation;
  • Maintaining applicable safety standards and practices;
  • Allowing for on-going assessments and evaluation of adherence to the STP on farm level.

Farmers are offered support through visits and technical advice from agronomists as well as technology such as a mobile application which lists chemicals which may be utilised on tobacco and also provides guidelines around the application thereof.