As part of its quest to assist in the development of farming communities in Nigeria, Western African Cotton Company Limited (WACOT), says it has expended millions of naira in the provision of social amenities in some selected communities in the northern part of the country.
The company has also provided over 6,665 farmers in the states of Katsina, Kebbi, Jigawa, Gombe, Kaduna, and Abuja, the country’s capital with basic medical care under its free health camp programme.
“WACOT is working actively in the agricultural sector in Nigeria and making all efforts to empower the farmers, women and youths, with particular emphasis on improving the socio-economic status of farmers in the selected northern states of the country,” said Anuj Kumar Bhatia, head, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S), WACOT, during the company’s free health awareness programme for farmers.
“We are building on the excellent partnership that the company has built over the years with the states, local governments, farmers, traditional rulers, as crucial to successful implementation of the programme,” he explained.
Giving details at health awareness camp, held in Belen-Gada in Bakori Local Government Area, Bhatia stated that 6,665 farmers benefitted from the 39 free health awareness camps with farmers drawn from a total of 7,458 farmers registered for the programme, adding that 3,776 of the beneficiaries are women.
According to him, the programme was conceived under the company`s CR&S initiative geared at providing free consultation, and medicines to the farmers that required treatment.
In the same vein, Bhatia added that the company had also entered into a partnership with international agencies, such as: GIZ, Propcom Maikarfi (DFID supported, USAID Markets, which would facilitate the development the capacity of farmers producing rice, sesame, and Soya.
“WACOT through its field based team is aiming at bringing sustainable development among these communities and has formed about 100 plus Community based women and farmer groups; building their capacity in different areas.
“The capacity development also entails group formation and strengthening, good agronomical practices, and how to make farming a business, and profitable. We are doing this through the introduction of Farmer Business Schools, in addition to provision of Nutrition and Par Boiling Training to women groups.
“Our CS&S unit is glad to be working regularly with various government ministries, especially in Kebbi state, where we are working with ministry of agriculture, health and education,” he added.
He announced that the company had concluded arrangement to provide the sum of N1million for the renovation of some selected schools in Kebbi state, pointing that the money will be released next month.
In his own address at the occasion, Kumar Gaurav, who is the programme coordinator, explained the company engaged qualified medical personnel to carry out the free healthcare delivery to the benefitting farmers at all the health camps.
He revealed that a breakdown of the programme, shows that 27 health camps were conducted in Katsina State so far, 10 were conducted in Kebbi state, while, two were conducted in the FCT.
Commenting on behalf of the benefitting communities, Badamasi Muhammadu, described Cooperative Societies and Self Help as the key to accessing support services from government, and private organisation, pointing out that such groups usually assist its members to boost yield, and market access.
Muhammad, who is the leader of the Belen-Gada Himma Farmers Association, noted that his group and others have benefitted from the farming inputs, funds, and extension service programme provided by the company.