The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has announced plans to invest over N2 billion to support small holder farmers across the 36 States in the federation.
The move, according to the foundation, is aimed at improving the lives of smallholder farmers and enabling them to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture to boost food production in the country.
A member of the foundation’s technical committee, Mr. Fatai Afolabi, on the sidelines of the West Africa Innovation Awards in Lagos recently, said the BATN foundation has chosen passion for supporting and empowering rural smallholder farmers in the country to contribute to food productivity in order to realize food security via sustainable commercial agriculture.
While reacting to the two awards given to the BATNF, the foundation’s technical committee described the gesture as a worthy recognition of the diligent efforts of the BAT Nigeria foundation team over the years in promoting good agricultural practices among rural smallholder farmers and empowering youths in agriculture and other enterprises.
“The BAT Nigeria Foundation is very passionate about young people and that is why one of our pillars of engagement is formed around youth employment and empowerment with particular emphasis on agriculture and the development of its value chains. As a Foundation, we reached out to young people through the provision of seed grants to scale up their agribusinesses whilst also providing mentorship and internship opportunities, which is why we are being recognized here today. We have also established the #WealthisHere initiative, a campaign developed to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit in the younger generation through sustainable agriculture,” he said.
Also speaking, the General Manager of the BATNF, Ms. Ololade Johnson, expressed how passionate the BAT Nigeria foundation is about rural farming, noting that its customers are rural farmers with core mandate to help small holder farmers earn a sustainable income.
“We have been able to do this successfully in 19 years since inception, improving the lives of farmers and enabling them to grow from subsistence to commercial agriculture. We are aware that people in the rural community are often ignored. It is our commitment and priority to ensure that they grow with the rest of the world,” she said.
The West Africa innovation award was designed to promote excellence, creativity, and innovation among brands and brand professionals in West Africa.
Other categories of awards were won by other firms, including, Lafarge Africa, FHA Mortgage Bank, Adept Lessor, Norremberger Financial Group, NSIA Insurance, Foreshore Waters, Suru Homes, BOAPr, Proficient Capital, Global Accelrex, Vektr Capital, JSP.
BATNF clinched two awards for excellence in sustainability, which includes best sustainability in agriculture’ and best sustainability in youth and economic development respectively for its contributions to Nigeria’s agric sector’s growth.
One of the BATNF landmark projects is the farmers for the future it introduced in 2019 to finance agricultural enterprises of young graduates particularly the farmers for the future (F4F) project. This is in addition to seed funding (input supply) given to rural farmers to cultivate their food crops and move them from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
To date, the BAT Nigeria Foundation has implemented over 240 projects in 36 states of the Federation including the FCT, impacting over 1.2 million beneficiaries.