38,000 women, youths benefit from IFAD/FG Niger Delta Project
About 38,000 Nigerians comprising women and youths from the oil producing states are to benefit from the $60 million International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted project.
National Coordinator of the project, which is also tagged, FGN/NDDC/IFAD Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises-Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), Abiodun F. Sanni, an engineer, who disclosed this at a media roundtable held yesterday in Port Harcourt, said the project covers nine oil producing states under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The states include Abia, Bayelsa, Rivers, Cross-River, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, Delta Ondo and Imo.
He, however, regretted that out of the nine states, three comprising Imo, Rivers and Akwa Ibom have not benefited due to failure of NDDC to provide its $30 million counterpart funding as earlier agreed.
Sanni said the essence of the media roundtable was to bring the activities and achievements made under the project to the knowledge of the general public.
He decried that in spite of the mileage reached and the numerous households impacted so far by the project, the level of publicity, advocacy and awareness had remained relatively low in the past.
According to him, each state government selects 10 local councils for the empowerment of its women and youths.
“Also, for a community to be listed, the national coordinator held that it must be peaceful, agrarian, rural and have ample land for the projects,” he added.
Accepting that other states of the federation also require similar intervention, Sanni stated that the project could be expanded beyond its present scope if the funding agency can be magnanimous enough to increase the project figure.
He explained that as at December 31, 2022, LIFE-ND had supported over 700 incubators and facilitated the establishment of 5,194 women and youth incubates enterprises.
“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,” he added.
Speaking further on the contribution of the project to the country’s strategic objective on food security, household income and job creation, the coordinator stressed 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 include 660 metric tons of poultry broiler production and 594.63 metric tons of fish production.
He added that LIFE-ND project has succeeded in injecting approximately, a gross income value of over N1.8 billion into the nation’s economy.
While over 6,964 smallholder farmers have been reached as at December 2022, Sanni projected that 13,000 people will 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 noted.