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year, and our plan is to double that in the next few years." The majority of the leaf procured in Nigeria is sourced from 850 farmers in Oyo State with whom BATN has developed a long- term relationship. " We have an agreement with them that if they can produce a given quantity of tobacco at the right quality, we will buy the entire crop from them at a guaranteed price." This provides an element of stability for the farmers along with an incentive to work hard to produce the necessary quality and quantity. The farmers also sign up to the BAT Group's Socially Responsible Tobacco Production initiative, which defines the standards by which they must operate. This is a comprehensive document, and ranges from prohibiting the exploitation of child labour, through to defining the stringent international standards for quality, health and safety, and environmental performance. " The key to managing this successfully is that the farmers are not left to achieve all this on their own," Hide explains. " We have a team of 11 agronomy experts based in the farmers' locations who work with them to help improve yield and quality, and to ensure they're equipped BAT Nigeria April 10 www. bus- ex. com 105 Modern Business Machines Nigeria ( MBM), with its efficient logistics and supply process, has provided British American Tobacco Nigeria proven information system solutions integrated with cutting- edge technologies for the last three years. MBM is partnered with Lenovo and IBM in providing both hardware and software solutions, as well as support services, to clients in Nigeria and West Africa. Modern Business Machines months of training and then absorb them into full time employment in the factories. While manufacturing lies at the heart of BATN's operations, its farming interests are also of critical importance. As much tobacco leaf as possible is procured within Nigeria. " The conditions in Nigeria do not lend themselves to growing all the flavour grades we need to create our blends, though. At the moment, Nigerian tobacco accounts for over 30 per cent of our leaf requirement," Hide says. " However, production on our farms is currently in the region of 2.5 million kilograms a