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Why BAT won’t raise farmers’ earnings yet

By Lee Mwiti | May 16th 2016

Farmers selling tobacco leaves to British American Tobacco (BAT) will not get a pay increment for their produce just yet.

This is despite the cigarette manufacturer announcing a 17 per cent jump in profit before tax to Sh7.1 billion.

BAT, which controls 70 per cent of the Kenyan cigarette market, said its current focus is improving the quality of farmers’ yields.

“What we do is we meet our farmers before the planting season and give them inputs like fertiliser, seedlings and thorough training and technical expertise .... We want now to check on new ways to improve the quality of their crop, which eventually will lead to higher pay,” Managing Director Keith Gretton said.

The MD added that his firm also helps farmers with crop insurance and gives them maize seeds to plant after harvesting tobacco. He said BAT paid farmers Sh1.24 billion last year, up from Sh700 million in 2011.

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