TORONTO, ON / ACCESSWIRE / September 22, 2020 / Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa's group of companies, namely, Meridian Tobacco Company (MTC) and its parent company, Global Tobacco Supply (GTS), have operated in Arua, Uganda for 24 years. MTC and GTS consider themselves productive partners of Ugandan and Arua authorities and northern communities with a proven record. As corporate citizens, the two companies welcomed the raising the status of Arua from a town into a city. By this act, the government of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni rightly recognized the hard work of the people of Arua for building a city dedicated to improving the lives of its people.
In Arua and elsewhere, the approach of MTC and GTS goes beyond producing consumer products to corporate social responsibility. This is illustrated by what the two companies do in Arua. MTC has a workforce of 350 permanent employees, 1,700 seasonal workers, and 9,700 contracted farmers. The combined number of people making a livelihood from MTC is 11,750. Corporate social responsibility then comes into play.
As Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa explains, "a business that does not value the community in which it operates is unworthy of its name. Forging a stronger bond between our companies and the world around them is fundamental. A business that does not give back to society does not make any sense - that is not our way of thinking or doing."
Corporate social responsibility is for this reason that the group established the Arua Organic Agricultural Centre (AOAC) which demonstrates to communities the best practices in food production. The AOAC teaches farmers continuous farming even where rains are scarce. Solar-powered irrigation is now operational, which permits the growing of over 50 different food crops.
Overall, encouraging and supporting farmers not only to improve food security but also to generate incomes is central.
Farmers are continuously sensitized to expand their income portfolio and not depend only on cash crops. These are several initiatives in this regard. In the case of bee-keeping, over 9 apiaries were installed in all regions where farmers learn best practices in bee-keeping. Farmers are also assisted to grow their own mini forests. A small forest can produce enough wood for domestic consumption and provide extra income every year by selling construction material and charcoal.
For MTC and GTS, the newly-acquired city status challenges all the stakeholders to work harder and smarter in assisting the people of Arua City to uplift themselves into prosperity.
PanAfrican Tobacco Group
SOURCE: Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa
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