Tobacco farmers in Iseyin, Oyo State, have said they want to go into the farming of more healthy crops, but are hindered by loans. The farmers, who made this disclosure when Environmental Rights Action/
The outputs from their farms, they confessed, are too little to pay within a short time, a reason they are hooked on tobacco farming. Some of them have, however, moved on.
"What we were told by BATN is that the Nigerian government is no longer interested in tobacco."
Another farmer and graduate from
Another farmer, who would like to be called Bisoye Ayinla for the purpose of the publication, said, "I would have delved very much into cassava cultivation, but tobacco growing is so intensive that you can hardly do anything else.
"The irony, however, is that BATN is the sole buyer and determinant of the prices for tobacco leaves we supply after curing them during the harvesting period. The company also gives loans to us, which we must repay through the tobacco leaves.
"Once you cannot meet-up, you carry over the repayment till the next planting year and this cycle is one you can continue for all your life."
Speaking on the findings from the farms in Iseyin during a debriefing session held in
"One basic fact seemed to stare the team in the face; the sparse farmlands across the entire localities visited and the fact that not many farmers own big lands seem to justify our long-held belief that BATN may actually be importing more of its leaf from outside
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