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BATNF’s irrigation facility lifts badagry vegetable farmers


Vegetable-farmingVegetable farmers in the Badagry area of Lagos, especially in Ajara are having their bread buttered on both sides, as the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has tilted some factors of production in their favour.

At the Ajara Vegetable Enterprise Development Project, the donation of irrigation facilities by the foundation to boost their productivity has made quite a huge difference. The facility was recently handed over to the farmers at a ceremony held at the farm settlement.

In a statement by the foundation, Executive Director, Seyi Ashade, who represented Chief Kola Jamodu, Chairman of the foundation, expressed confidence that the irrigation facility will stimulate good production practices that will translate into higher yield, increased income of farmers and the community.

Mrs. Ashade noted that vegetable, which is the primary produce of the farmers, plays a very important role in human nutrition. She reiterated the foundation’s commitment to supporting smallholder farmers in rural communities to make sustainable positive impact in communities across the country.

The vegetable farming initiative receives technical backup from the National Horticultural Research Institute (NIHORT), Ibadan, Oyo State.
The Director of Research, NIHORT, Dr Henry Akinwunmi, acknowledged the huge contribution made by BATNF to the vegetable segment of the Ajara Farm Estate. While commending the support, he urged the beneficiaries to put the irrigation facility into good use.

Dr. Akinwumi said the project would increase their productivity and capacity in order to grow their farming business from homestead agriculture to large scale commercial enterprises.

Mrs. Abiola Ayoade, who represented Hon. Oluwatoyin Suarau, the Lagos State Commissioner of Agriculture said the vegetable estate initiative was mainly conceived to mitigate the periodic shortage of vegetable products and to optimise the use of available land for agriculture, boost food production and generate employment. She remarked that the “supply of fresh vegetables to Lagos State comes majorly from outside the State, that is why this programme is highly laudable.”

The Chairman, Ewebe FADAMA Users Cooperative Group, Alhj. Mufutau Oyelekan, expressed appreciation on behalf of the vegetable farmers and thanked the foundation for choosing Ajara Farm Estate.

The irrigation facility donated includes two giant water tanks and several units of water sprinklers coursing through the 2.5-hectare farmland. The beneficiaries are 22 dedicated smallholder vegetable farmers from the Ewebe FADAMA Users Cooperative Group. Various types of vegetables, including the leafy and fruity vegetables, are cultivated by the farmers.

Other dignitaries present at the event were the Baale of Ajara Topa, Chief Samuel Owolabani; and Mrs Jacinta Uramah from the Canada IDRC-DFATD Project.

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