The Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NIMET) and British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) have signed a memorandum of understanding to establish a collaborative relationship that will provide weather information including the likely period of dry spell and locations of likely flash flood occurrences to farmers who are grossly dependent on rain-fed agriculture.
Speaking at a media briefing held in Ikeja, Lagos, the director general of NIMET, Prof. Sani Abubakar Mashi said the MoU will be for an initial period of three calendar years effective from the date of final execution and may be renewed thereafter on terms mutually agreed upon by the parties.
Mashi, who was accompanied by the outgoing chief executive of the agency Dr. Anthony Anuforom expressed delight at the collaboration and pledged to give BATNF the necessary support.
“We at NIMET are extremely happy with the relationship with BATNF. We will give you the necessary support. We are in a transition. We will have expectation that our partners will collect information at the lower level which we will work with like Katsina State did for us to make necessary adjustments for more effective weather prediction,” he said.
In his remarks, Anuforom said NIMET’s services cut across every sector of the economy, from agriculture to maritime, aviation, oil and gas, tourism and others although the agency is attached to the aviation industry.
Explaining why he was part of the signing ceremony, Anuforom said: “We are in transition and I am working with the new director general.”
He said he had served two terms of five years and the second tenure ended this year.
However, according to the letter of appointment, Mashi has to understudy the out-going director general who is expected to proceed for terminal leave on March 25, 2017.
Also speaking, the executive director of BATNF, Mrs. Oluaseyi Ashade said the company will provide weather information dissemination platforms through different sessions of agronomic and other household economic strengthening training across the number of states where BATNF’s activities are carried out.
She said the training will include pre-season and in-season among other training for lead farmers and other relevant users.
Ashaye also said BATNF would train implementing partner organisations on critical threshold of weather and climate monitoring as well as provide other technical support for the attainment of full economic potential for the smallholder farmers.
BATNF is an independent charitable organization incorporated in Nigeria on November 13, 2002 as a company limited by guarantee in fulfillment of the MoU signed between the BAT Group and the federal government in 2001.
It provides technical assistance to build productive capacity of smallholder farmers thereby transiting them from subsistence to commercial agriculture.
BATNF focuses on rice, cassava, maize, vegetables, oil palm, poultry and aquaculture value chains in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).