The British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) Foundation is planning to spend N7oo million on Nigeria’s smallholder farmers to improve their yield per hectare and livelihood.

The foundation has also launched a four-year strategy programme for Nigeria targeted at improving farmers’ productivity and consequently food security

“The launch of the 2020 country program for Nigeria confirms the passion and commitment that guides the foundation’s programs and implementation of activities that are geared to empower rural Nigeria for a sustainable future that starts with agriculture,” Kola Jamodu, chairman, BATN Foundation said during the launch in Lagos recently.

“Smallholder farmers cannot be ignored in the agricultural value chain if growth and development is expected in the sector, but they are limited due to their subsistent way of farming and the unfavourable business environment that leaves them vulnerable to big players in the field

“In the spirit of leaving no one behind, BATN Foundation empowers rural smallholder farmers to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture by providing them with practical means to mitigate these challenges through grants and technical expertise,” Jamodu added.

He said that the four year strategy plan will help support government efforts in promoting agriculture and food security in the country.

According to him, the foundation in its 18 years of promoting social economic development in Nigeria has spent a total of N1.5 billion on 180 programs across the 36 states of the federation.

Highlighting the agenda of the 2022 country programme, Lolade Johnson-Agiri, general manager, BATN Foundation said that a total of N700 million has been made available for the four year plan and will bring the total investments in the country’s agricultural sector to N2.2 billion.

Johnson-Agiri noted that the focus will be on enterprise development, ABC of crop management, humanitarian aid, grants and government led interventions, farmers for the future-youth entrepreneurship and development and communication for agriculture.

“We intend to reach 26,000 beneficiaries at the end of the period to impact the economy through sustainable agriculture,” Johnson-Agiri said.

Chris McAlister, managing director, BAT Nigeria in his remarks said “many farmers in the country struggle with the pre-requisite needed to move from small scale to large scale farming and the inability to transit threatens their ability to rise out of poverty.”

He said that the foundation will continue to provide funding and other necessary assistance to constantly support agricultural enterprises and improve the livelihood of those living in the rural areas.

In her closing remark, Abimbola Okoya, executive director, BATN foundation said “we need to come for the realisation of a safe Nigeria where entrepreneurial dreams thrives.”

Okoya stated that the foundation will continue to train farmers on good agricultural practices.

LIKE TO GET ALERT ON LATEST AGRIBUSINESS NEWS & OPPORTUNITIES? CLICK TO DOWNLOAD THE AGRICULTURAL BUSINESS ANDROID APP ON GOOGLE PLAY