Going by the Federal Government’s quest for self-sufficiency in food production through massive investment in agriculture, Lafarge Africa has increased its corporate social responsibility portfolio towards investment in agriculture at grassroots level, empowering 127 farmers in 12 communities in Ogun state.
Lafarge’s investment in agriculture at grassroots level came to the fore when Lafarge Africa, a member of LafargeHolcim, extended its budget to 127 farmers domiciled in 12 communities, where Lafarge Africa operates cement plants in Ewekoro Local Government Area of Ogun state with a view to empowering the farmers with farming tools and inputs under Lafarge Agric Intervention Fund.
BusinessDay reports that a sum of N9.6 million was distributed to the farmers as part of Lafarge Africa’s contribution to agricultural development in the rural areas for the next farming season. This forms part of N160 million earmarked for corporate social responsibility this year, with a focus on agriculture, health, education and infrastructure.
Speaking shortly after the commissioning of some community projects which include modern police station at Itori, a town hall at Olujobi and a block of classrooms at Lapeleke, Michel Puchercos, country CEO, noted that Lafarge’s investments in community based CSR is borne out of sustainability strategy with four main pillars including climate, circular economy, water& nature as well as people and communities.
The country CEO, who was represented by Bruno Hounpkati, logistics director, added, “Lafarge Africa’s CSR investments are strategic and needs-based. Our commitment to the development of our local communities is unwavering because we recognise host communities as strategic partners to our business.”
Responding after the presentation of cheques to the farmers, Oba Rasaki Jimoh Famuyiwa, Onipapa of Papalanto, said, “Lafarge has been trying a lot for the communities in Ewekoro. There have been scholarships for our kids, farmers are being given farming tools, farming inputs and agric fund from time to time and other empowerment for the youths.”
“I am even surprised that Lafarge is holding corporate social responsibility day this year, because I thought economic recession would have prevented them from doing this, but they put the interests of the communities at heart.”
Another response from Babatunde Akanbi, youth leader, Ewekoro, said, “Quite a number of farmers are jobless because there is no money to buy agric inputs, such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and farming implements to cultivate land, but with Lafarge’s intervention, our farmers can cultivate land even if they still farm at subsistence farming.”