By Egufe Yafugborhi
AFTER prolong planning, Federal Government has launched the $127.17 Million Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), an initiative to stimulate food security and job creation in the region.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, represented by Mohammed Umar, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, launched the programme Tuesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state amidst high expectations from stakeholders.
The project to span 12 years garner the bulk of funding from the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) which has already made available $60Million for the initial 6 year implementation and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) expected to contribute $30Million in the first phase.
All nine benefitting Niger Delta states would contribute a combined $4.8Million and Federal Government (FG) $3Million with the expected deliverables targeting at 38,250 jobs in the agribusinesses for youths and women in the region.
The Agriculture Minister, while launching the programme, said, “The Government of Nigeria has identified top agricultural commodities -cassava, plantain, rice, fish, cocoa oil palm and poultry in the Niger Delta to implement this project.
“These commodities are economically driven by small and medium enterprises with poor access to land, finance/credit and few reliable market outlets, as being major challenges for youths and women inclusion”.
Joi Nunieh, Acting Managing Director, represented by George Ero, the commission’s Director, Agriculture and Fisheries, said, “This project launch is to create more awareness and make the people realise how much government cares about their welfare“