Tobacco Asia

Volume 20, Number 1

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64 tobaccoasia / Issue 1, 2016 March / April) to investigate local natural resources and promote other agricultural business, like raising cattle, and planting kiwi. This investment is meant to limit the dependence of improved income based only on tobacco. As part of the Housing Program, Yunnan Tobacco donates half of the profit and provides an interest-free loan program to help build new housing. Most of the Achang people live in tra- ditional houses with various livestock on the first floor. Most of these houses are old, and without constant repair, frequently cause fatal accidents. (Figure 4 shows a comparison between old style and new-style housing.) As for the Comprehensive Program, at its core it is meant to eliminate pov- erty by increasing the skills of the Achang people. Inviting experts to give professional training is one important aspect; education for the next gen- eration is also a critical aspect. Yunnan Tobacco Company will provide funds to renovate local elementary and middle schools (Figure 5). Other construction projects, like entertainment centers and churches, are also included within the com- prehensive program. Ideally, Yunnan Tobacco is attempting to triple the Achang annual income from US$580 to US$1,580 within three years. Unlike some other international tobacco companies, Yunnan Tobac- co Company, being a state-owned company, has an important social role to play. Although the main purpose of the "Happy Achang" program was to increase the income of the indigenous Achang people, it should also have a significant impact on the high quality flue-cured tobacco leaf supply for Chinese cigarette produc- tion. This region was never considered one of the main flue-cure tobacco production areas. How- ever, the local tobacco type (called Cao Yan) has also been prevalent here for many years due to the great ecological environment in this region. (Most traditional Achang people have red-colored teeth as a result of chewing Cao Yan.) Yunnan Tobacco Company wants to take advantage of this great natural environment to produce green, ecologically sound tobacco leaf of high quality to meet the Chinese top-brand ciga- rette market demand. Currently, all Achang tobacco growers in De- hong County have direct contracts with Yunnan Oriental Tobacco Co., Ltd. and the cured leaves were first sold to this company. Then China Tobacco Jiangsu Industrial – the biggest indus- trial buyer for flue-cured tobacco in this region – stepped in. It owns two famous tobacco cigarette brands, including Su Yan and Nan Jing. Guangxi Li, who is chairman of the production department at Yunnan Oriental Tobacco, says that the current quality of flue-cured tobacco leaves belongs to the upper middle level based on the industry report. However, the great tobacco growing environment will add extra value to the tobacco leaves cured in this region. Therefore, "natural, green, and eco- logical" will be three keywords for the flue-cured tobacco production in Dehong County and the Achang growers. Figure4. The traditional-style Achang house (A) and the new-style Achang house (B). Figure5.The current elementary school (A) and the new-style elementary school (B). Figure3.Tobacco experts from the Yunnan Academy of Tobacco Agricultural Science training local tobacco growers.

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