By Sumaila Ogbaje
Abuja – The Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) has donated rain-gauges and measuring cylinders to the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF) in its bid to support the food security programme of the Federal Government.
A statement issued by Mrs Tessy Ushie, the Head of Public Relations Unit of NiMet on Monday in Abuja, said the Director-General of NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi presented the instruments to the Foundation.
According to Mashi, the donation of the instruments is in fulfillment of the agreement it has with BATNF.
Mashi said the agency had signed an agreement to provide technical support, weather information as well as training for BATNF Field officers.
This, according to him is to help BATNF fulfill its objective to provide support for smallholder farmers in Nigeria.
Mashi, while presenting the instruments to BATNF in Iseyin, Oyo State, also said the equipment would translate to better forecasts for farmers as well as guarantee improved yields.
Represented by the General Manager/Head of Weather Forecasting Services, Mr Ibrahim Ishiyaku, Mashi said the event was a demonstration of practical commitment to the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with BATNF in February.
He disclosed that NiMet would also train field officers of BATNF on the use of the weather instruments for climate monitoring.
Mashi urged the Foundation to ensure that the equipment were well manned and commit themselves to transmission of the data to NiMet for improved weather forecasting services.
Earlier, the Executive Director, BATNF, Abimbola Okoya noted that the Foundation had a long history of collaboration with NiMet, which was officially sealed with the signing of MoU in February.
Okoya revealed that the event marked a significant milestone in gathering data on rainfall at the selected communities where BATNF support rural smallholder farmers in Oyo State.
According to her, NiMet, through the partnership has supported the Foundation to train farmers and extension agents in Niger, Benue, Kaduna, and Gombe states this farming season.
Okoya 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, the Head, Leaf Operations, BATNF, Mr Thomas Omotoye , said the collaboration between NiMet and the Foundation had effectively addressed the challenges of inadequate rainfall data to support farming operations.
Omotoye described the gesture as empowerment opportunity that would impact positively on the integrity of the Foundation and Farmers’ expectations in terms of production, loan repayment as well as expected profit. (NAN)