Godfrey Phillips India won the 6th annual Greentech CSR Gold award 2019 for its farmer community program. The company won the award for the Burley tobacco farmers community program in Guntur district, Andhra. The award presented was received by Vaishali De, head, CSR, Godfrey Phillips India in Panaji. The award recognizes the impact of the company’s CSR initiatives in changing the lives of the marginalized, poor farmers. Tobacco farmers in Guntur with land holdings between 1 to 5 acres continue to struggle with the droughts and lack of water for irrigation that allow them to only grow a single crop. Given this context, they are caught in the trap of seasonal employment, low incomes, lower bargaining power, increasing debts and a downward trend in labour prices. Along with these issues, there are larger community issues arising from drought.
The CSR programme with the objective of creating a sustainable livelihood through tobacco farming, was initiated to improve the standard of living of the farmers. Over two lakh farmers benefited from the programme. Commenting on the award, Harmanjit Singh, vice president and head of corporate affairs, Godfrey Phillips India said, “This is a recognition of our committed work in the communities we operate in. We believe in shared success of all the people and organizations we work with. The tobacco industry is highly regulated and restricted. With various legislations and initiatives for tobacco control, one of the majorly impacted stakeholders are the marginalized farmers and poor workers associated with the industry.”