The British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) has launched its “Wealth is Here” campaign 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.
The campaign, which was launched in Lagos on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, provides a platform to reinvigorate the entrepreneurial spirit in the younger generation through agricultural practice and revive their hope and patriotism.
In his remarks, 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.
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.”
In an address, the Area Director, BAT West Africa, Yarub Al-Bahrani, said it had been an incredible 17 years journey since the foundation was established in 2002, which 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 Nigerians 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 per cent 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 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 said 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.”
The objectives of the Wealth is Here campaign are to 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.
Highpoint of the launch was the award of financial grants to the winners of the BATN Foundation’s Farmers for the Future project. The recipients were Miss. Iyiola Taiwo (N5 million), Miss Chiamaka Ndukwu (N1.5 million) and Ms. Aniagolu Lucy Chioma (N1 million).