Ibrahim Shuaibu in Kano
An agricultural input company WACOT Limited, in a bid to support and empower the farming communities in the Northern states of Nigeria is working actively with farmers in Kebbi, Katsina and Jigawa States, through its Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability (CR&S) Division.
The company has earlier supported the communities in Gombe, Kaduna and the FCT in the areas of health, education and livelihood as no fewer than 6,665 persons have reportedly received treatment in 39 ‘Free Health Awareness Camps’ organised by the company till date.
Head of WACOT Ltd’s CR&S division, Mr. Anuj Kumar Bhatia, said Free Health Awareness camps were successfully organised in Nasara village of Argungu local government in Kebbi state, and Belen-Gada community in Bakori local government in Katsina state where patients received free medicines.
Bhatia informed the communities that supporting the farmers in this way is one of the ways by which WACOT is giving back to the community.
The company is working actively in the agricultural sector in Nigeria to empower the farmers, women and youths and working towards improving the socio economic status of the farmers in the northern states.
He also said the company wants to promote a healthy and productive farming community in Kebbi where it is targeting a 100,000 MT rice factory in Argungu, adding that the factory will provide local jobs and livelihood to hundreds of families in that area.
He commended the partnership between WACOT, state and local governments, farmers, traditional leaders, and other stakeholders and described this as the key to successful implementation of the projects.
He added that the CR&S division in a bid to benefit the farmers has also developed partnerships with different international agencies like GIZ, Propcom Maikarfi (DfID supported) and USAID Markets (earlier) under different crops to include rice, sesame and soya and are working together to build capacity of farmers and women in both agriculture and off farm activities.
WACOT through its field-based team is spearheading sustainable development among these communities and has formed about 100 plus Community-based women and farmer groups and is building their capacities in different areas like group formation and strengthening, agronomical practices, making the farmers learn on how to make farming better business through Farmer Business schools (FBS), and nutrition and parboiling training to women groups.
Bhatia also shared that the CR&S division is regularly working in coordination with different Ministries in Kebbi state including Ministries of Agriculture, Health and Education and appreciated the support being extended by them. He also announced a new million naira project on school renovation has been taken by WACOT in Kebbi and it will be unveiled this September.
In his address, the programme Coordinator, Mr. Kumar Gaurav explained that at all the health camps WACOT ensures that qualified medical doctors and auxiliary health workers are engaged to treat people suffering from various diseases by giving free drugs and doing referrals where required.
Gaurav said 27 health camps has been conducted in Katsina, 10 in Kebbi and 2 in FCT, stressing that 7,458 persons were registered and 6,665 treated with high percentage of 3,776 women and children.
Speaking on behalf of the communities, Malam Badamasi Muhammad described cooperative societies and Self Help Groups as key to accessing support services from government and organisations that would enhance farming activities and the wellbeing of farmers.
Muhammad leader Belen-Gada Himma farmers association, said farmers had benefited in different ways from WACOT Ltd to include farming inputs, funds and extension services, and expressed optimism that the support helped members to improve their yields and market their farm produce.
Some beneficiaries, Malama Saliha Magaji, Hadiza Bello and Yahanasu Abdullahi thanked WACOT for the support and explained that treatment had improved their health status as they usually travel far to access medication for themselves and their children.
The CR&S division of WACOT is actively working in the villages in Argungu and Suru Local Government in Kebbi and in Bakori, Malamfashi and others local government in Katsina to bring a sustainable change in the life of the people.