British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has been commended for ensuring compliance with Child Labour Policies among tobacco farmers in the country. This commendation was given at the 2016 BATN Farmers’ Awards Ceremony, which held in Iseyin, Oyo State, on Wednesday, September 28, 2016.
This year’s award was held to celebrate tobacco farmers for their commitment to complying with policies and regulations on child labour and to reward their productivity
Mr Charles Kyalo, Director of Operations, BATN, expressed the company’s appreciation to the farmers for their valuable partnership and contribution towards the growth of the organisation. “At BATN, we have a proud history with the farmers who we like to call our valued business partners. It remains important to celebrate these partners who play a key role in ensuring we deliver quality products to adult consumers,” he said. He also expressed BATN’s commitment to, “Continue working with the Nigerian government and other agriculture development-focused organisations to grow the agricultural sector and support the Nigerian economy.”
Mrs Seyi Ashade, Area Head, Corporate Affairs, BATN West Africa, reiterated the company’s commitment to the growth of rural communities through the empowerment of farmers.
She stated that BATN maintains a tough stance against child labour, noting that the organisation had shown great determination to discourage it by “Creating massive awareness on the ills of child labour and the benefits of sound education for the children.” She added that BATN carries out random unannounced checks at farms in a bid to ensure the farmers’ compliance with stipulated codes of conduct.
“Child labour is a practice BATN is against. We are not opposed to parents involving their children in their source of livelihood; we are against it when it denies the children access to quality education. We have organised seminars to educate the farmers on the ills of child labour and the proper way to integrate their children into their business. At the last random unannounced spot check, we recorded a success rate of 99 per cent,” she stated further.
Senator Gbolahan Dada (Ogun West), in a goodwill message, lauded BATN’s awareness programme on child labour policy compliance among farmers. He urged the company not to relent, while emphasising the critical role education plays in the current administration’s agricultural revolution. Honourable Abiodun Olasupo (Iseyin/Itesiwaju/Kajola/Iwajowa Federal Constituency) appealed for greater support from BATN to farmers in his constituency and advised the farmers to place premium on the education of their children.
A total of 283 farmers were rewarded with sprayers, bags of NPK and KNO3 fertilisers.
Mr Rasheed Bakare, chairman, Nigerian Independent Tobacco Association (NITA), speaking on behalf of members, appreciated BATN for its immense support and implored government to resist calls to withdraw support for tobacco farmers, who he said also cultivate other crops apart from tobacco.
Also present at the occasion were some traditional rulers: the Aseyin of Iseyin, Oba Ganiyu Adekunle; the Are of Ago Are, Dr Abodunrin Oyetunji Kofoworola; and the Oniro of Otu, Oba Sunday Oyetunde Adepoju.