The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) on Thursday, graduated 260 beneficiaries (incubatees) of its scheme on best agricultural practices in Delta.
It is reported that LIFE-ND is supported by the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and benefiting nine South- South states.
Speaking, Mr Ben Agama, Permanent Secretary, Delta Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources, lauded the Federal Government, coordinators of the project and the incubators for the feat attained in training the incubatees on modern and best practices in agriculture.
He said that the Delta Government was the first to pay its counterpart funds for the project while urging the beneficiaries to incorporate the training and create wealth for themselves and as employers of labour.
According to Agama, farming business may not look attractive and there is always a waiting period but it remains the main stay of any economy and the heart of prosperity.
He encouraged youths and women to embrace agriculture as a business, adding that everyone needs to eat to stay alive, as such, “there are lots of opportunities in agriculture”.
In his remark, the LIFE-ND National Coordinator, Mr Abiodun Sanni, said today graduation ceremony was a major landmark in the process of attaining the goals of the project.
According to him, the set goal is to realise a transformed rural economy in which the rural population in the Niger Delta derives prosperity and equal benefit.
“Its objective is also to provide jobs opportunities for the teaming youths in the states using sustainable agricultural enterprise development.
“The graduating youths and women of LIFE-ND project in Delta toady, have undergone training in beat agronomic practices within the value chains of Cassava, Poultry, Fishery and Oil Palm; the graduating incubatees have excelled in all the trades”.
He lauded Delta Government for the support and while congratulating the graduands, he said that the coordinating would continue to support and monitor the incubatees progress to ensure they become incubators (trainers) under the project.
The State Project Coordinator, Mr Collins Ashoro, in his address of welcome said that LIFE-ND project began in 2020 in Delta with the profiling, selection and validation of incubators and incubatees for the project.
He said that the project covers 10 local government areas and 10 communities per local government area, adding that the scheme had successfully implemented the incubation model in nine LGAs and 58 communities in Delta.
According to Ashoro, the project is to also enhance income, food security and jobs creation for rural youths and women through agri-enterprise development on sustainable basis in the Niger Delta region.
“As we know, LIFE-ND project is being implemented in nine states of the region; Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Rivers and Imo.
“Out of the nine states, three states includin Akwa-Ibom, Imo, and Rivers will be sponsored by NDDC, while remaining six is being sponsored by IFAD.
“In Delta, 320 incubatees were selected, trained and attached to incubators for mentorship. And of the 320 incubatees that participated in the first phase, 260 are graduating and certificated today.
Ashoro said that the scheme is gender friendly, adding that it was 50 per cent selection for men and women aged between 18 and 35 years and women headed household with children under age 15 years.