By Gift Samuel, The Sight News
The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has trained officers of the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) and as well presented raingauges and measuring cylinders to them in order to boost the Federal Government’s Food Security Programme.
The presentation is in fulfilment of the agreement signed earlier in the year to provide technical support, weather information as well as training for BATNF Field officers. This will help BATNF fulfill its objective to provide support for smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
Speaking during the formal presentation of the rainguages at the Leaf Head Office, BAT Iseyin Agronomy Limited, Iseyin, Oyo state, the Director General/CEO NiMet, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi, who was represented by the General Manager/ Head of Weather Forecasting Services Department, Mr Ibrahim Ishiyaku, said the event is not just a demonstration of the agency’s support for the Federal Government Food Security Programme but also a practical commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with BATNF.
He disclosed that NiMet is not only presenting the raingauges and measuring cylinders but will also train field officers of the BATNF on the use of the weather instruments for climate monitoring.
Prof.Mashi while admonishing BATNF to ensure that the equipment are well manned and to commit to transmission of the data to NiMet for improved weather forecasting services, adding that the event will translate to better forecasts for farmers and guarantee improved yields.
Earlier, the Executive Director, BATNF, Abimbola Okoya revealed that the event marks a significant milestone in gathering data on rainfall at the selected communities where BATNF support rural smallholder farmers in Oyo State.
She noted that the Foundation has a long history of collaboration with NiMet which was officially sealed with the signing of MoU in February this year, adding that NiMet,through the partnership, has supported the Foundation to train farmers and Extension agents in Niger, Benue, Kaduna, and Gombe states this farming season.
She expressed gratitude to NiMet for the unflinching support and commitment in making the collaboration a success and putting smiles on the faces of farmers.
Also speaking, the Head, Leaf Operations, BATN, Mr. Thomas Omotoye observed that the collaboration between NiMet and BATNF has effectively addressed the challenges they face from lack of adequate rainfall data to support their operations.
Mr. Thomas described the event as empowerment opportunity as it will not only impact positively on the integrity of the BATNF, but also on Farmers’ expectations in terms of production, loan repayment as well as expected profit.