BATN FoundationWealth Is Here Campaign Launched to Provide a Boost for Young Agripreneurs
The Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, venue of the launch of the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF)’s ‘Wealth is Here’ campaign, buzzed with activity, on Tuesday, September 24, 2019.
The objectives of the campaign are well spelt out: create awareness of agri-preneurial opportunities in Nigeria, ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in the younger generation while also exposing them to agri-preneurial packages available from public and private institutions, and revive the spirit of patriotism in the youth. Ultimately, the initiative is aimed at changing the mindset of Nigerian youths and igniting the belief that they can flourish in Nigeria by seeking out and creating opportunities for themselves in agriculture.
In his remarks at the occasion, the Chairman, Board of Directors, BATN Foundation, Chief Kola Jamodu, while commending the BATN Foundation’s commitment to promoting sustainable agricultural development in Nigeria, said the campaign, which has the youth and agriculture at its core, seeks to engage young people in agriculture and turn their creative ideas to successful business enterprises.
“I am excited about this campaign because it has young people and agriculture at its core and rightfully so, because both agriculture and its human resources are the future and hope of Nigeria,” he added.
Chief Jamodu expressed confidence in the ‘Wealth is Here’ campaign which is in line with the economic strategies of the present and previous administrations to diversify the economy from oil and accelerate Nigeria’s economic development. He noted that “to drive agriculture, carefully thought out solutions and programmes must be articulated for the youth to get involved.”
Area Director, BAT in West Africa, Yarub Al-Bahrani, described the17-year journey of the Foundation since its establishment in 2002 as incredible, noting that it has seen it providing potable water, capacity building, and smallholder farmers’ support in rural locations.
He added that: “With an investment of over N1.6 billion in sustainable agriculture, the Foundation has reached over 36,000 farmers,” while regretting that “the impact has been threatened by mass migration of Nigerian youths to other countries that promise economic liberation.”
Al-Bahrani therefore urged that there is a need to begin by changing the narrative to one that is more inclusive of the youth.
“Our story of wealth and prosperity will be impossible without the active participation of young people who represent around 70 percent of the country’s population. The ‘Wealth is Here’ campaign is an initiative to change the narrative and rewrite our story. The campaign is about providing hope and, most importantly, creating multipliers in the economy for inclusive growth and shared prosperity,” he said.
Earlier in a welcome address, the Executive Director of BATN Foundation, Ms Abimbola Okoya, said that the initiative was created in the wake of the shocking exposé by the Cable Network News (CNN) on the Libya slave trade and recent reports of violent attacks on Nigerians living abroad. She remarked that the campaign would revive hope and patriotism in the Nigerian youth and most importantly inspire entrepreneurial interest in the agricultural sector.
Speaking on the activities of the BATN Foundation, Okoya observed that the Foundation reiterated its “commitment to support sustainable agriculture development through the unveiling of our development assistance framework – the 2022 country programme– and the pledge to invest N700 million towards the achievement of this mandate.”
Goodwill messages were delivered at the occasion by guests who include: representative of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on the SDGs, Princess AdejokeOrelope-Adefulire, represented by Mrs. Olalade M. Olaopa; Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, Hon. AbikeDabiri, represented by Mr. Dipo Adebowale; the Executive Director, Bank of Agriculture (BOA), South-west, Mr Olabode Abikoye.
The highpoint of the launch was the award of financial grants towards the agribusiness establishment of the winners of the BATN Foundation’s Farmers for the Future project. The recipients were: Miss. Iyiola Taiwo (N5m), Miss. ChiamakaNdukwu (N1.5m) and Ms. Aniagolu Lucy Chioma (N1m).
Written by Kartia Velino