In its drive towards fostering sustainable agricultural practices, the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) hosted its biennial Agribusiness Dialogue Session, aimed to address the challenges faced by Agripreneurs and chart sustainable paths in the agricultural sector.
The session themed, “Turning Challenges into Opportunities: Establishing Sustainable Strategies and Pathways for Smallholder Farmers in the Agrifood System”, took place on Thursday, November 16, 2023, underscoring the Foundation’s need to support agribusiness and agriculture in the country.
Ololade Johnson-Agiri, executive director, BATNF, in her opening remarks stated that since the inception of the Foundation in 2002, they have remained committed to sustainable agriculture development and improvement of livelihoods of smallholder farmers, their families, and communities.
Since its inception in 2015, the Foundation has hosted similar events in 2017, 2019, and 2021. The 2023 edition was hosted in partnership with the Enterprise Development Centre of Lagos Business School and was meant to build on the success of the 2019 collaboration.
The 2023 edition sought to address the challenges faced by smallholder farmers, and transform them into opportunities for sustainable growth and prosperity within the agrifood system, a statement said.
Olusola Kehinde, vice-chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB), in his keynote speech, 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.
He 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 dialogue session which served as a platform for in-depth discussions and deliberations, saw experts, government representatives, private sector stakeholders, and experts convene to explore and analyse strategies and initiatives necessary to drive the smallholder farming sector forward.
The dialogue also featured plenary sessions, breakout sessions, and fireside chats with renowned experts on topics focusing on “The Power of Collaboration: Climate Change and Agrifood System Partnership” and “Empowering Youths: Tech-Driven Agricultural Opportunities”, exploring the abundant opportunities that exist for youths in technology-driven agriculture.