The British America Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA) on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to empower youths in agro-based enterprises across the country.
According to Abimbola Okoya, Executive Director of BATNF, the young people are the heartbeat of Nigeria and the future powerhouse of agriculture.
“I am excited about this partnership and the initiative because it has youth at its core. Young people are the heartbeat of Nigeria, the future powerhouse of agriculture because we are everywhere.
“They should not be ignored because they are the thread in this fabric of society. Agriculture is the largest employer of labour and the fastest way to build an army of prosperous individuals.
“Our future is threatened from food insecurity to unemployment, questions are asked from the lips of many about the benefits of living in Nigeria and being a Nigerian.
“This Wealth is Here campaign is one of the 200 initiatives we have implemented since BATNF was established in 2002 that had gulped over N1.5 billion toward socio-economic development of Nigeria,’’ Okoya explained.
She reiterated that BATNF was committed to support sustainable agriculture development through the 2022 country programme of N700m.
Mr Olabode Abikoye, Executive Director of BoA said he was excited over the partnership because it was not profit-based but about identifying the critical needs of the country.
According to Abikoye, the initiative of the partnership is well thought-out and will yield positive results.
“The popular dictum that says, `do not give me fish but teach me how to fish’ is at play here because this initiative is bringing hope to Nigeria’s teeming youths.
“To say, there is no need to go elsewhere but make them see hope here. BoA is actually working to reduce rural to urban migration through its programmes by trying to integrate the various segments of the value chains embedded in agriculture,’’ he said.
Abikoye also noted that the partnership had a multiplier effect because not only those who would directly benefit but there would be indirect beneficiaries.