By Gabriel Olawale
The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation, BATN, has unveiled a four-year strategic plan to promote wealth creation activities in the agriculture sector as part of efforts at empowering rural Nigerians for a sustainable future.
Speaking during the launch of “Country Programme 2018 to 2022,” Chairman of the Foundation, Kola Jamodu, said BATN was committed to empowering rural small holder farmers to move from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.
Jamodu said the company’s support would focus more on practical means of mitigating challenges confronting farmers, saying: “We are going to support them with grant and technical expertise so they can become prosperous. Imagine if every smallholder farmer is prosperous, we would have significantly reduced poverty in rural communities and generated employment for thousands unemployed youth in the labour market.”
On his part, Managing Director of BAT Nigeria, Chris McAllister, said before oil was discovered in Nigeria, agriculture was the mainstay of the economy, which contributed about 60 per cent to the GDP.
McAllister disclosed that agriculture remained the only sector with ability to absorb the unemployed labour force in Nigeria, noting: “If we get it right in agriculture, Nigeria will be unstoppable.”