• Monday, March 04, 2024
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Tobacco Farmers get N280 million interest free loans

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The over 800 members of the Nigeria Independent Tobacco Association (NITA) in the Oke 0gun area of oyo State are to benefit from N282 million interest- free- loans from British American Tobacco Iseyin Agronomy (BATIA), a subsidiary of British American Tobacco Nigeria(BATN)

BATIA is to distribute the loans to tobacco farmers as the new planting season begins in 2014.

This is N18 million higher than N262 million doled out in 2013 to the farmers.

This is in addition to provision of seedlings,herbicide ,insecticide,fertilizers and technical support to the farmers by BATIA

Thomas Omotoye, Head of Leaf ,BATIA who said the company targets 96 percent loan recovery from the farmers for this year noted it also provide, environment management and give farmers seedlings to plant other food crops after harvesting tobacco leaves.

0mofoye said the company has been transparent through fair pricing with government,independent representatives in attendance during yearly pricing negotiations with the farmers.

To further support the farmers,he revealed, that 18 tractors have been given out to some farmers without interest and repayment schedule spread over four years.

He further disclosed that tobacco production rose from 2,356 tonnes in 2012 to 2,500 tonnes in 2014 adding also that farmers trees planting increased to 85,000 in 2013 from 70,000 in 2012.

The BATIA boss who spoke with journalists in Iseyin last week said provision of amenities for communities in 0ke 0gun zone is hinged on the company’s sustain ability policy.

Commenting on the relationship between tobacco growers and BATIA, Chairman, NITA, Rasheed Bakare last week,described it as voluntary and mutually beneficial.

Apart from providing amenities for communities,Bakare said “the company gives our children scholarship and even extend it beyond children of farmers in the zone”.

He also mentioned the farmers Productivity Awards Scheme in which farmers get rewarded.

The award is designed to improve the farmers’ productivity in terms of quality and volume of yield, as well as encourage their adherence to principles of environmental protection.

On the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,he said the proposals constituted a threat to the livelihood of more than 30 million tobacco growers and farm workers worldwide.

He pointed out that about 10,000 jobs will be at risk in Nigeria if WHO goes ahead with its proposal.

According to him, if the proposal scales through , it will have dire impacts on the livelihood of a total 800 growers in Nigeria and the over N500m we contribute to the local economy annually.

NITA,he pointed out, is in support of the original intention of the FCTC’s Article 17 treaty, which provides technical and financial assistance to aid the economic transition of tobacco growers and workers.

Reflecting on the 2013 planting season, Bakare said unfavorable weather especially lack of adequate rains affected output.

By: Remi Feyisipo