The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATFN) said on Monday that it has spent over N1 billion to empower farmers in rural areas to ensure sufficient farm produce. Mrs Abimbola Okoya, the Executive Director of the foundation, said this at the presentation of the NIS 9001:2015 Quality Management System of the foundation to Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) in Lagos. According to Okoya, the foundation has over 150 programmes across the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, which are empowering small farmers. “We have partnered with government agencies like Nigerian Meteorology Agency (NiMet) to help with weather predictions for planting season.
“We do not underestimate the importance of agribusiness in wealth creation or the value of small holder farmers in ensuring that a nation can feed itself and sell to other nations. “Our development efforts as a foundation are geared toward ensuring the fulfilment of this vision,” she said. The executive director said the foundation would maintain its quality standards and keep to the NIS IS0 9001:2015 (QMS) accreditation requirements. Also speaking, Mr Ageni Yusuf, a board member of the foundation, said the event confirmed the culture of excellence that guides BATFN’s programme and implementation of activities geared toward empowering rural dwellers for a sustainable future.
According to Yusuf, sustainable agricultural development is the bedrock for equitable growth and economic prosperity for any nation. “The truth permeates the United Nations sustainable development goals one, to end poverty and two, zero hunger, both of which are development goals supported by the foundation. “In the spirit of leaving no one behind, BATFN empowers rural small holder farmers, many of who are often forgotten, to move from subsistence to commercial agriculture, while adopting modern agronomical practices,” he said. Presenting the certificate, the Director of Monitoring and Compliance, SON, Mr Bede Obayi, said that after rigorous assessment on the quality management of BATFN, the SON found it worthy of being certified with the certificate. “Today, BATFN has joined other NIS 9001:2015 companies and organisations all over the world to enjoy the benefit of the certificate,’’ he said.