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BATN Foundation targets N400m impact investment per year

Invested N4bn for 1.7m people to benefit from sustainable agric interventions in last 20 years

Akinlabi Hassan

After 20 years of impactful interventions across Nigeria, the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation has revealed that it targets to scale up its investment in social impact to as much as N400million per year for the next 20 years.

The Foundation revealed this during a press briefing held in Lagos as part of activities to commemorate its 20 years anniversary in Nigeria.

It was also revealed that the Foundation invested N4bn to support 1.7million people, majorly youths and women, through various initiatives across agriculture value chain all over the country.

Reflecting on the Foundation’s milestone achievements in the last two decades, the Board Chairperson, BATN Foundation, Adebisi Lamikanran stated that the Foundation has being tiredlessly working to empower farmers and communities across the 36 states of Nigeria, including FCT Abuja.

L-R: General Manager, BATN Foundation, Oludare Odusanya;Board Member, BATNF, Odiri Erewa-Meggison; Board Member, BATN Foundation, Nomore Mapanzure; Board Chairperson, BATN Foundation, Adebisi Lamikanran and Board Member, BATN Foundation, Yarib Al-Bahrani after a press briefing as part of activities of the Foundation’s 20th Anniversary events held in Lagos.

“As from the humble beginning since 2002 the mission has been very clear; to meaningfully contribute to socio-economic development of Nigeria with an emphasis on sustainable agriculture” Lamikanran noted.

“As we celebrate two decades of transformative impact, our focus on agriculture, the backbone of Nigeria’s economy, has been exploited by supporting smallholder farmers and equipping them with the tools and resources they need to succeed. Let us continue to nurture the seeds of change we’ve sown, and our unwavering commitment to empowering rural Nigeria be the catalyst for a brighter future for generations to come.”

“The Foundation continues to lay emphasis on our commitment to create tangible and lasting solutions through youth initiatives, with unwaivering dedication, we have continued to touch the lives of these youths, empowering individuals and communities to thrive in the midst of the difficult challenges.”

“In addition to empowering farmers, we are investing in the next generation of leaders which is extremely important, that is, the youths in agric business and upcoming agriprenuers, equipping them with the skills and knowledge to thrive and secure a brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities”, Lamikanran noted.

The other board members elaborated on the key milestones of the Foundation in the last 20 years that have resulted in major outcomes with an impact investment of about N4bn in community projects.

This helped the Foundation to reach more than 300,000 beneficiaries in over 300 communities with support of agronomy best practices.

While sharing highlights of the investments and social impact over the last 20 years of the existence of the Foundation, Board Member, BATN Foundation, Yarib Al-Bahrani said the Foundation had focused on community development and rural farming since inception.

“Since inception the organization has invested N4bn in community projects, improving the lives of the farmers and their families in these communities. With over 300 community projects, over 300,000 farmers received support on agronomy best practices to improve the sustainability of their work and the communities in which they operate.”

“In terms of the total number of beneficiaries, 1.7million people were reached through various initiatives across agriculture value chain, it is quite a staggering one as a small Foundation,” Al Bahrani further revealed.

“We also focused on sustainability of water, providing safe drinking and hygienic water for communities and farmers. We developed over 105 solar-powered boreholes with capacity of 20,000 litres each, in order to make sure that beneficiaries have access to safe and drinkable water.”

Al-Bahrani also noted that the Foundation’s collaborative efforts also helped to reached over 100 stakeholders cutting across government, the private sector and other not-for-profit organizations.

“Obviously, we want to do more, and hold more collaborations with stakeholders, and other Foundations that have same priorities,” he noted.

In this period under review, BATNF also planted over 500,000 trees to support and uphold stakeholders’ afforestation priorities to protect the environment.

Speaking on the plans for the future, another Board Member, BATNF, Odiri Erewa-Meggison, noted that the Foundation is committed to scaling up its social investment, economic and environmental impact along the six thematic areas of the Foundation with a target to reach 60,000 direct beneficiaries across the country.

“For the next 20 years, first and foremost, we want to move from just sustainable farming, we also want to make sure that we look at economic and environmental impact whilst we are scaling up.

“We are moving from enterprise development, and capacity development to doing a lot of partnerships with government, while we continue to get grants and scale up on our initiatives with the government.” Erewa-Meggison revealed.

“We also want to make sure that we focus on humanitarian aids as the environment is very critical. As we are giving back to the society, we also want to make sure that the environment is a safer place for everyone to exist.”

“We also want to make sure that we have targeted programmes for the youths especially the ones in the tertiary institutions and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). We want to make sure that we have 60 projects to scale up agribusiness and women empowerment across Nigeria,” she said.

Erewa-Meggison also revealed that within the next five years, the Foundation will be involving in bigger collaborations and partnerships as part of efforts to scale up social impact in the most sustainable way.

She further noted that the Foundation will establish two key partnerships to drive these future plans.

“We also pursue tree-planting with a target of additional 30,000 trees over the next five years, and with more partners we can invest more in that space” she added.

The General Manager, BATN Foundation, Oludare Odusanya also said the Foundation is attracting more youths to farming by adapting them to their preferred styles, like soilless farming and other unconventional farming methods “through our projects like Farmers For the Future with which the SAEED department of the NYSC involves youths by providing funding for them after a bootcamp to fine-tune their business plans”.

“As we look to the future, we remain steadfast in our commitment to our vision of becoming a leading catalyst for sustainable agriculture in Nigeria. We are confident that by empowering smallholder farmers, achieving food security, and driving economic growth, we will continue to sow the seeds of change that will benefit generations to come,” he stated.

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