About 38,000 women and youths from the Niger Delta region are to benefit from the $60 million Federal Government/International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted project.
The National Coordinator of the project tagged: FGN/NDDC/IFAD Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises – Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), Engineer Abiodun Sanni, disclosed this at a media roundtable on Friday in Port Harcourt.
Sanni said that the project which commenced in December 2019 covers nine oil-producing states under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
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The states include Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Delta, Ondo, and Imo states.
He said while IFAD is funding the project in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Ondo to the tune of $60million, the NDDC is expected to fund the three states of Akwa Ibom, Imo, and Rivers with $ 30 million.
The Federal Government and governments of the affected states are to contribute $ 4.91 million and $ 3.76 million respectively.
He, however, regretted that out of the nine states, three including Imo, Rivers, and Akwa-Ibom, have not been able to benefit due to the failure of NDDC to provide its $30 million counterpart funding for the programme.
The essence of the media roundtable, according to Sanni, was to bring the activities and achievements made under the project to the knowledge of the general public.
He lamented that in spite of the tremendous successes already recorded in the six states currently benefiting and the numerous households impacted so far through the project, the level of publicity, advocacy and awareness had remained relatively low.
He said that as at December 31, 2022, LIFE-ND had supported over 700 incubators and facilitated the establishment of 5,194 women and youth incubatees enterprises.
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“Additionally, a total of 6,964 incubators and incubates including women, youths, and the vulnerable people trained on various topics in agricultural entrepreneurship and good agricultural practices covering the business cycle of the beneficiary’s business of choice,” Sanni said.
On the contribution of the project to the country’s strategic objective on food security, household income, and job creation, the National Project Coordinator said that over 450 metric tons of cassava, 219.74 metric tons of rice seed, 230 metric tons of paddy rice, and 21.23 metric tons of cocoa productions have been recorded.
Other contributions of the projects include 660 metric tons of poultry broiler production and 594.63 metric tons of fish production.
He added that the LIFE-ND project has succeeded in injecting approximately, a gross income value of over N1.8 billion into the nation’s economy.
He said while over 6,964 small-holder farmers had been reached as at December 2022, 13,000 Women and youths would benefit in the current year.
“With this level of outreach, LIFE-ND will significantly be contributing to Nigeria’s strategic objective of food security through its contribution to both the national food security and national economy,” he said.
According to him, 10 local government areas have been selected by each state government for the empowerment of its women and youths.
Also, he said for a community to be listed, it must be peaceful, agrarian, rural, and have ample land for the projects.
On the need for other states to benefit from similar interventions, Sanni said that the project can be expanded beyond its present scope if the funding agency can be magnanimous enough to increase the project figure.