BATN Foundation launches N700m project to support small-scale farmers
The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has launched N700million Country Programme to support small-scale farmers.
Managing Director of the foundation, Abimbola Okoya, who disclosed this yesterday in Lagos, said the programme would last for four years.
He explained that its objective is to develop sustainable agricultural enterprises for rural smallholder farmers.
It is also aimed at improving the lives of people living in rural areas, with special emphasis on small-scale farmers, their families and communities.
He said the initiative, from 2018 to 2022, became necessary due to the enormous potential of the agricultural enterprise to simultaneously lift the standard of living of rural farmers.
It is envisaged to increase productivity, sustain food security, and generate employment.
The programme would also contribute to national economic growth and reduce the nation’s dependence on oil revenues.
The Chairman of the foundation, Kola Jamodu, said it had spent N1.5billion in empowering rural Nigerians.
He said the empowerment involves over 180 programmes across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
He stressed that it would support government at all levels in promoting agriculture and food security in the country.
According to him, the welfare of the rural population is tied to agriculture, due to its high potential for growth.
He said: “If every smallholder farmer is prosperous, we would have significantly reduced poverty in rural communities.
“It would also generate employment for thousands of unemployed youths in the labour market.”
He added that agriculture was vital to wealth creation and in ensuring that a nation can feed itself, and sell to others.
Jamodu disclosed that the BATNF signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Government 18 years ago to promote socio-economic development in the country.