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Saturday, February 24, 2024

BATN Foundation, stakeholders chart pathway to sustainable agriculture

With the theme “Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Creating Sustainable Strategies and Pathways for Smallholder Farmers in the Agrifood System,” Agribusiness Dialogue Session, a biennial initiative of the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation that represents a significant opportunity, has engaged stakeholder farmers in meaningful discussions about their future in the agricultural sector.

Agribusiness Dialogue Session
Delegates at the Agribusiness Dialogue Session in Lagos

The Agribusiness Dialogue Session that targeted reviewing government and private sector strategies was aimed at enhancing the prospects of smallholder farmers and their families and fostering a sustainable future.

The 2023 Agribusiness Dialogue Session is said to be timely, as it seeks to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers, transforming them into opportunities for sustainable growth and prosperity within the agrifood system. To drive the discussion and reach an actionable resolution, the event featured expert-driven plenary sessions, a keynote address, insightful breakout sessions, and a discussion session.

Speaking at the event, Ololade Johnson-Agiri, Executive Director, British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), stated that since the inception of the Foundation in 2002, it has remained committed to sustainable agriculture development and the improvement of livelihoods of smallholder farmers, their families, and communities.

In her words: “Since the establishment of the BATN Foundation in 2002, we have been working determinedly to empower smallholder farmers through a range of programmes and initiatives. We believe that smallholder farmers are the key to unlocking Nigeria’s agricultural potential and ensuring food security for future generations.”

Professor Olusola Kehinde, Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), in a keynote address, commended BATN Foundation for focusing on helping smallholder farmers in Nigeria succeed while also acknowledging the challenges that must be addressed in order to achieve sustainable agriculture.

Professor Kehinde further said, “The expectation is that this dialogue will proffer a more robust and adaptable strategy that would be deployed to sufficiently address the challenges facing smallholder farmers in the nation and unlock their potential to contribute to economic growth within the agri-food system and beyond.”

The event featured a Fireside Chat, moderated by Dr. Olawale Anifowose, EDC, Pan-Atlantic University, with the theme “Smallholder Farmers and the Path to Sustainable Agriculture.”

The engaging session delved into the challenges and opportunities faced by smallholder farmers in their pursuit of sustainable agriculture. Additionally, two breakout sessions and a Plenary session gathered prominent experts in the agricultural sector.

The first breakout session centred on “The Power of Collaboration: Climate Change and Agrifood System Partnership,” providing participants with a platform for discussions about the role of collaboration in addressing climate change and enhancing agrifood systems. Olaoluwa Bamigboye, Founder of Heirs and Heralds International, chaired and moderated this session.

The second breakout session, “Empowering Youths: Tech-Driven Agricultural Opportunities,” explored the myriad opportunities for youth in technology-driven agriculture.

Oyin Asaju, Managing Partner of Farm Republic, displayed her expertise as the chair and moderator, guiding insightful discussions on this critical topic.

Since its inception in 2015, the Foundation has successfully hosted similar events in 2017, 2019, and 2021.

The 2023 edition was hosted in partnership with Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) of the Lagos Business School and was meant to build on the success of the 2019 collaboration.

By Ajibola Adedoye

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