Alliance One International, LLC (“AOI” or the “Company”) recently partnered with the Federal University of Lavras (“UFLA”) in Minas Gerais, Brazil, to provide third-party, specialized training to its agronomic employees around the world. The program was established to promote an enhanced employee skillset, which ultimately can benefit AOI’s contracted farmers through improved efficiencies and maximized income potential.
The virtual training program, “From the Seeds to the Cured Leaves,” was conducted by UFLA agronomy professors and took place over the course of six weeks, bringing together AOI tobacco leaf agronomists from 18 countries on 5 continents.
“Our global agronomy team members have extensive agronomic knowledge about tobacco production, and most have been working with the crop for several years. This professional development program was organized to offer our employees a continuing education opportunity to deepen their knowledge on some of the most technical and scientific aspects of tobacco cultivation,” said Helio Moura, AOI’s global agronomy director.
Topics covered in the training ranged from methods to build soil fertility to tobacco ecophysiology—the connection between the plant and its environment—at varying stages of the crop production process.
“Crop production methodologies and best practices are rapidly evolving due to new technologies and research, as well as the impacts stemming from climate change,” said AOI President Alex Strohschoen. “Ensuring our agronomists continue to advance their knowledge base not only encourages employee motivation and engagement, it also aids our global agronomy team in transferring this knowledge to our grower base, helping to strengthen the farmers’ crop quality and yield and delivering value to our stakeholders.”
The Company intends to expand the partnership to provide further training and education opportunities to employees. Additionally, the training sessions “From the Seeds to the Cured Leaves,” have been recorded and will be available to employees to review.