It wasn’t long before the expansion of contracted production in Mozambique in Tete Province, as well as Manica, Niassa and Zambezia provinces, warranted the construction of a local processing plant, with MLT completing the factory investment at its Tete City location in early 2005. Today the facility has the capacity to process approximately 30 tons of green tobacco leaf per hour, and annual capacity to process 100,000 to 110,000 tons per year. MLT employs approximately 4,600 people at peak season and contracts over 100,000 smallholder growers of tobacco.
The MLT model for contracting smallholder growers is centred on sustainability. The Company sponsors its contracted growers with inputs for growing tobacco and food crops, with the MLT agronomy team delivering training on both good agricultural practices and good agricultural labour practices. Water reservoirs are built to ensure that farming communities have access to irrigation water also in the dry season, boreholes and wells are dug to provide for the daily needs of the tobacco communities. As in other parts of the Universal Africa region, education and support for youth development is a priority, and MLTC has launched a primary school feeding programme in districts with the greatest need, which complements the regular school building and development activities.
MLT’s contracted burley tobacco growers are encouraged to grow ‘live barns’ for curing, promoting tree planting and the avoidance of cutting wood to build barns. There is ongoing research to provide efficient FCV curing facilities for farmers growing this type of tobacco in Mozambique, with the introduction of the ‘Turbo Barn’ being the most recent innovation.
Universal has a minority investment in an integrated poultry operation in Tete Province that is intended to provide MLT’s contracted growers with a market for their surplus maize and soya bean production, grown with the assistance of MLT inputs. It is also an opportunity for MLT’s contracted growers to engage in their own poultry production, by purchasing day-old chicks to rear and sell as an additional income stream.
Over 85% of the tobacco produced in Mozambique is burley, with the remaining tobacco types being FCV (12%) and DFC (3%).
Tobacco Type Descriptions