Why LIFE-ND projects should be sustained, by Ikpeazu
The Abia State Governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu has attested to claims that the International Fund For Agricultural Development (IFAD) project – the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE – ND) has been very beneficial to the participating states including Abia.
LIFE-ND project was designed to address the growing youths restiveness by sustainably enhancing their incomes, food insecurity, creating jobs for young rural people and women, including providing and developing rural infrastructure in the Niger Delta states.
Six of the nine Niger Delta states – Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Edo, Delta and Ondo are participating in the project, excluding Akwa Ibom, Imo and Rivers states, whose counterpart Funds of $30m were yet to be paid by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to qualify them for enlistment in the project, which targets a total of 38,750 beneficiaries from the nine states.
IFAD has reportedly paid $60m for Abia, Bayelsa, Cross Rivers, Delta, Edo and Ondo who are participating.
Governor Ikpeazu who made the attestation during a two-day inspection of projects undertaken under the project by an Inspection Team, said the state was happy to participate in the project, especially as it centered and impacted positively on agriculture, food security, employment generation, fighting poverty including rural and infrastructure development, among others.
The governor noted that while modern techniques of agriculture were taught, rural roads were built and rehabilitated in communities, which facilitated access to farms and enable transporting of planting materials and harvests from farm.
The IFAD Team Lead, Mr George Polenakis who lauded the complementary role of Abia government to towards the realisation of the LIFE-ND programme, urged the state to subscribe and release counterpart fund.
Speaking after the inspection of the projects sites in four different villages, Polemakis cited poor finances and lack of insurance cover, as major challenges facing farmers in the programme.
The National Project Coordinator, Engr. Sanni Abiodun who said the Team was in the state to inspect and monitor the projects, described the level of support the project received from the state government as satisfactory. He called on the Federal Government to emulate Abia State, just as he also urged the state not to relent.
The host State LIFE-ND Coordinator, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, said the beneficiaries were not only trained to be farmers, but to become job creators and employers. He commended IFAD for its commitment to the transformation of Abians.