Meridian opens in Uganda

| February 13, 2017

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa

Tribert Rujugiro Ayabatwa, founder of the PanAfrican Tobacco Group (PTG), has announced the forthcoming official opening of Meridian Tobacco Co. (MTC) factory, together with its farmer development program, and food crop and forestry improvement, scheduled for May 2017.

Operational since 2015-2016, the project comprises a $8 million factory, a $10 million leaf-growing program and a $2 million food crops and forestry development initiative,

MTC factory directly employs 352 workers and empowers 15,000 small farmers that supply the facility. An additional 1,600 workers and small businesses such as transporters expand the workforce seasonally.

“My relationship with Uganda goes back two decades,” said Ayabatwa. “Our partnership with the authorities and people of Uganda has always been excellent. This investment in northern Uganda is further strengthening our collaborative efforts with communities and government to improve lives. Together we are creating greater employment opportunities, improving agricultural practices, enhancing food security, supporting small businesses, and taking care of the environment.”

According to Ayabatwa, corporate social responsibility is imbedded in the project. “In 2016 we trained farmers and community leaders in good agricultural practices in crops other than tobacco to enhance food security,” he said.

“We trained some 350 farmer/leaders on improving yields of over 15 different crops. Equally important is our reforestation effort. In 2016, we distributed 1,5 million of tree seedlings to communities thus supporting preservation and expansion of indigenous forest reserves. We are very pleased with our partnership and outcomes.”

“A good corporate citizen is never about profit only but also social responsibility,” said David Himbara, PTG’s senior adviser. “MTC is a good example of this mindset. Based on the average Ugandan family of five, MTC’s workforce and farmers totaling 15,352 are supporting 76,760 people. Over 1,600 additional seasonal workers and small businesses such as transporters increase the number considerably. MTC is also one the largest taxpayers in northern Uganda. Clearly, MTC is a great corporate citizen of Uganda.”

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