Leaf Research
& technology

Since 1974 our Leaf Research and Technology Department has been working on developing the most modern agricultural techniques and ensuring that these techniques are utilized by our farmers to keep our Leaf Quality aligned with market demands.

The main research breakthroughs include new generations of hybrid cultivars for all types of tobacco, the float system for seedling production, loose leaf barns for curing Virginia as well as a huge reduction in the use of pesticides in the field.

We constantly do research and develop innovations across various agronomical aspects of tobacco production, such as genetic development, seed production, crop management, curing, drip irrigation, precision agriculture and pest management for each of the types of tobaccos produced in Brazil.


Souza Cruz is not only concerned with the results achieved by the growers with their tobacco crop. Our involvement goes further. Our company provides advice and information on best agricultural practices for everyday life in the field.

Also, Souza Cruz has been conducting programs geared towards nature conservation. In the field, the company has developed a significant number of environmental programs. These include reforestation projects, which encourage all growers to achieve self-sufficiency in the production of firewood, preserving native forests and water resources. The Soil Master Plan aims to increase soil fertility as well as the quality and availability of water, which are the two most precious resources farmers possess. The safety of the grower is of paramount concern, and they are advised and monitored on the correct use of all agricultural products.

Agribusiness is the real beneficiary of Souza Cruz’s initiatives on behalf of the environment in the rural and industrial sectors.

Corn and Beans after Tobacco Harvest

• A programme jointly created by Souza Cruz and Secretariats of Agriculture in 1985. It encourages farmers to plant grain crops after tobacco harvest, as a way to increase their income and quality of life on the small holdings.

• Since 2014, the programme has been coordinated by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) and carried out jointly with the Tobacco Growers' Association of Brazil (Afubra), State Secretariats of Agriculture and Federations of Agricultural Workers.

• It recommends soil protection practices and induces the farmers to take advantage of tobacco residual fertiliser. It also fits into the Integrated Disease and Pest Management category.

Sustainable Farm / Producer 10

• It aims to improve farm management skills, based on sustainable rural development. The activities with the farmers include planning, financial administration, and environmental protection.

• It monitors the economy of the rural properties and provides financially viable suggestions.

• In every 12 nuclei of the programme, a farm is developed with the aim of adjusting it environmentally with the purpose of turning it into a model farm, engaging stakeholders and disseminating knowledge on the theme.

• In all, 240 rural holdings in the three southern states of Brazil have joined the programme in 12 hubs, each with 20 farmers.

Growing–Up Right Programme

Created by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco), associated companies and the Tobacco Growers' Association of Brazil (Afubra) to raise awareness among integrated growers and society of the need to prevent child and adolescent labour on tobacco farming.

Extended School Journey (JEA)

• This initiative helps to eliminate child and adolescent labour through cultural activities developed beyond normal classroom hours.

• This is part of the Growing-Up Right Programme, led by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco) jointly with the Tobacco Growers' Association of Brazil (Afubra). Since 2013 it has already geared the amount of R$ 14 million towards educational projects in 96 municipalities, benefiting 93 thousand children and adolescents.

Project Knowledge

• Programme that subsidizes the acquisition of computers by the integrated farmers.

• It promotes digital inclusion and turns the integrated growers and their youngsters into transformation agents in the rural setting.

• Up until 2014, 11 thousand computers had been delivered to more than 80% of the integrated farmers.

Producer Portal

• An information tool that contributes toward strengthening the relationship with more than 30 thousand Souza Cruz integrated tobacco growers by providing them with business management information and tools.

Terms of Commitment

Signed with labour authorities, it sets forth the commitment of the company to the following questions:

• School Enrolment and Attendance Certificate: Consists in monitoring the certificates of school enrolment and attendance of all the minors that live in the farming areas and are related to the integrated growers. The school enrolment certificate is a prerequisite for any commercial contract between the company and the integrated farmers.

• Child and Adolescent Labour: Enforcement of measures for the protection of children and adolescents through monitoring and reporting irregularities detected during technical assistance services.

• PPE / fresh, wet, green tobacco handling clothing: To ensure availability of personal protective equipment for the application of pesticides and clothing for handling green tobacco, at cost.

• Pesticides: To secure correct pesticide warehousing on the farms, in compliance with existing standards and with the aim of ensuring growers’ health and safety, and environmental protection.

Soil Master Plan

• Provides technical guidelines to growers in matters related to sustainable soil and water use. About 95% of the company’s integrated producers have adhered to sustainable soil management practices.

Water Resources Administrator Programme (PGRH)

• A set of recommendations that promote sustainable consumption of the water utilized on the farm.

• Content developed jointly with the Federal University of Pelotas (Ufpel).

Reforestation Programme

Geared towards reforestation initiatives aimed at turning the integrated tobacco growers self-sufficient in firewood and making sure only wood of certified origin is used for curing their tobacco. From 2009 to 2013 4.6 thousand hectares were reforested.

Friends of Native Forests

• Partnership with the Environmental Police in the state of Santa Catarina aimed at guiding and creating awareness among the farmers and communities of the need to preserve nature.

• Wood of certified origin provided for those farmers who do not have available firewood or enough land for reforestation on their farms.

• Total firewood made available: worth R$ 5.1 million, from 2010 to 2013.


Young Farmer Apprentice Programme (JAA)

• Programme that provides technical and administrative skills for the children of integrated tobacco farmers.

• Encourages young people to stay in the rural setting, developing their capacity to properly manage the land.

• With 489 participants in 44 courses conducted so far.

Rural Entrepreneurship Programme (PER)

• Through the development of management and innovative competences it pursues techniques to improve the leadership capacity of the farmers, stimulating their entrepreneurship potential, helping with social, economic and environmental transformations in a sustainable manner.

Rural Management

• Improves the farmers’ capacity in matters related to farm management, through planning and organizing farm activities, thus maximizing the results of agricultural production.

Digital inclusion

• Through basic and advanced computer science courses, develops the capacity of the farmers and their families (particularly their children), making them aware of new management technologies, leading to a life of quality on their farms.

Excuse me, I’m going to fight / Modern Day Woman

• Trains and empowers women in matters like management, financial planning, entrepreneurship, leadership and interpersonal relations, encouraging them to become social transformation agents.

Integrated Production System

Created in 1918 by Souza Cruz, the Integrated Tobacco Production System - ITPS - , has turned into an agribusiness and family farming reference, and is now being used by several other productive sectors in Brazil and the world.

It starts at seed supply, developed in the company’s research centre, and continues all the way to crop delivery, when the farmers can enjoy the comfort of selling their entire contracted crop. This partnership grants the farmers all the technologies developed by Souza Cruz and free technical assistance, which ultimately translates into quality, productivity and profitability.

Other advantages include Souza Cruz’s closer relationship with the communities, leading to social and environment oriented investments, reduction in rural urban migration, crop diversification.


Souza Cruz Industrial Operations is constantly researching and developing engineering solutions for the three plants with relentless focus on safety and quality. All investments in the processing are intended to secure product quality and compliance with customer specifications. In addition to top-notch threshing lines, Souza Cruz’s Purchasing and Feeding Sectors use the most modern equipment in the world in terms of technology. It includes the following systems:

Mechanized Bale Unloading - a mechanism to remove the tobacco bales from trucks and place them on the purchasing conveyor belt that eliminates any ergonomic stress.

Automated Bale Remounting - a Cartesian Robot that moves the bales from the purchasing conveyor belt to the container of their grade.
Electric Pallet Racks - electric sensors installed underneath the pallet racks limit their movement in key areas to improve workplace safety.

Clips for Bales - spring pincers supported by electric pulleys mounted on tracks are inserted into the bales. The bales can then be easily moved from their containers to the feeding tableby one operator, without any ergonomic stress.

Helius Sorter – in order to more effectively remove NTRM (non-tobacco-related material), Helius Sorters were installed in all processing lines. The Helius Sorter separates the NTRM from the tobacco with a capacity of 1.2T per hour. The separation is done by laser beams focused on the product. The reflection produced by different materials and colors makes possible to indentify and then remove the undesired material by means of air separation.