The British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) Foundation and the Bank of Agriculture (BoA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which took place in Lagos Lagos on a new project to promote Youth Agriculture ,enabling job creation as MOST youths do not like agriculture.This MoU will help to stop Youth from running away from Farming.
The project entitled: Wealth is Here! is aimed at attracting and empowering the youth in rural areas. It will cover both the youth that have access to land and those without.
BATNF Executive Director, Ms Abimbola Okoya who spoke during the signing of the MoU, said rural transformation could not be accomplished in Nigeria without encouraging and empowering the youth in agriculture and value chains and entrepreneurship.
She disclosed that investing in the future of the youth and encouraging them to grow their own businesses is vital in eradicating unemployment .
She also,underscored the need for motivation through linkage to financial services that do not require collaterals the youth cannot provide, rural infrastructure and services to facilitate market linkages and enterprise development and partnerships.
She said BATNF, since its establishment in 2002, has invested N1.5 billion and implemented 200 projects.
“In 2018, we reiterated our commitment to support sustainable agriculture development through the unveiling our development assistance framework-the 2022 country programmes and the investment of N750 million towards the achievement of the mandate,” she said.
She said the new project would support rural enterprise development and creation of value chains.
BATN Foundation General Manager Ololade Johnson-Agiri said the firm’s ‘Wealth is Here’ campaign is aimed at redeeming Nigeria’s glorious past, which was built on the pillar of a thriving agriculture.
She noted that the BATNF would take advantage of BoA’s technical strength to develop and promote the campaign initiative.
“The campaign is a reminder of Nigeria’s glorious past in agriculture. It is a call to Nigerians to seek out opportunities in the agricultural sector. In this initiative we have identified some solutions to bridge the gap mitigating their involvement in this sector. In the campaign, for example, we have identified the World Food Day Lagos Farm Fair to create access to market for agricultural products; the Farmers for the Future to give young people the opportunity to access grant for their enterprises. We have partnered with government’s institutions to identify programmes that the public can take advantage of, and soon we will launch a digital campaign to revive hope and optimism in Nigeria.
‘’We see a future where we will all thrive and survive. The Bank of Agriculture believes in this future too. In our partnership, BATN Foundation will leverage on BOA’s technical strength to fully develop and promote the Wealth is Here initiative. BoA will provide linkage to credit facilities for farmers or groups who emerge successful in our projects.”
BoA Executive Director Mr. Olabode Abikoye described BATNF said: ‘’We are honoured to be a part of this initiative. We are humbled that you deemed us fit as a worthy partner to take this step with you. BATN Foundation is a huge partner for any corporate engagement. I am happy that BATN Foundation is identifying what the critical need is and is stepping into the gap to feel that need. I am impressed that the ‘Wealth is Health’ concept by BATN Foundation has a lot of thought-out initiative.”