BrandArena: BATN rewards over 180 farmers at productivity award

Saturday 22 March 2014

BATN rewards over 180 farmers at productivity award

British America Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has rewarded over 180 tobacco farmers with various prizes such as farm implements, motorcycles and overhead storage tanks as part of activities to mark the company’s 2014 Farmers’ Productivity Award.

Speaking at the ceremony which held in Iseyin, Oyo State, the Area Operations Director of BATN, Mr. Francisco Toso, disclosed that the essence of the award was to recognise farmers’ efforts every planting season, because “we understand that recognising performance was essential to improving performance.”

Toso noted the volume growth in tobacco production and sales from N224 million to N680 million in the last few years and traced it to the technical & financial support including interest-free loans that BATN and British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy (BATIA) has been extending to the farmers.

“The combined efforts of our technical supports through the extension workers and the passion of the farmers for increased productivity have resulted in a commendable growth over the last few years. The farmers’ sales value has increased from about N224 million to N680 million to date with tobacco farming supporting more than 20, 000 livelihoods.” He stated.
The farmers lauded BATN and British America Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy (BATIA) particularly applauded the interest-free loans and other forms of support often rendered to them by the company. Many of them described the presence of BATN/BATIA in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State as invaluable and a huge boost to the economy of the region.

One of the farmers who received an outstanding award, Mr. Alani Adewunmi, said he made N5.7 million as profit in tobacco cultivation in 2013 alone adding that his total production in the same year amounted to about N13.7 million.

Also speaking at the occasion, Corporate and Regulations Affairs director of the company Freddy Messanvi, said the partnership between BATN and BATIA has been working perfectly well because BATN always provides the farmers with ready markets, technical support and farm inputs noting that transparent and fair pricing system of BATN/BATIA as well as encouragement given to the farmers to plant food and cash crops had further smoothened the relationship between the company and farmers over the years.

“The collaboration between British America Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy and the tobacco community has been highly successful and has spanned over a decade from the creation of BATIA in 2002. The collaboration also focuses on how results are achieved. Hence, the recent series of an elimination of child labour workshopps organised in partnership with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), the Federal Ministry of Labour & Productivity  and the Oyo State Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources & Rural Development with the farmers and the famers requested that the workshops to be spread to other non-tobacco farmers. This can only be achieved when it is a mutually benefical partnership.”.” Messanvi stressed.

Two members of the National Assembly, Senator Adeniyi Ademuyiwa, a member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Honourable Ifeoluwa Arowosoge, a Member of the House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture who graced the occasion both congratulated the farmers and urged them to plant other crops to further support the Agricultural sector.

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