By Emem Idio

YENAGOA-THE first batch of 218 incubatees of Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises- Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) in Bayelsa State have graduated from the programme after undergoing six months training.

The 218 incubattees graduands were trained in four commondities areas of cassava, fishery, poultry and plantain farming where the state has comparative advantage.

LIFE-ND project, a rural based agric-enterprise development organization is funded by the federal government, and assisted by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD, the Bayelsa State Government and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.

Speaking at the graduation ceremony held at Emis Events Centre Yenagoa on Friday, the state Commissioner for Agriculture, Prince David Alagoa, who represented Governor Douye Diri, congratulated the incubatees on their successful completion of their training, announced that the best three graduands would be sponsored by the state government for another training programme in Abuja

Alagoa described the LIFE-ND training model where the incubatees are made to undergo training and tutelage under experienced incubators as the best of its kind and

He pointed out that the state government led by Governor Douye Diri was passionate about changing the narrative of the state through agricultural empowerment programmes, said the governor has identified agriculture as one of the mainstay of the economy and one of the ways which the youths can be empower.

He commended the various communities for donating their lands for the project, and called on others to do same to ensure that their indigenes benefit from the programme and also urged the graduating incubatees to become entrepreneurs and employers of labour so that the gains of the programme trickle down.

In his remarks, the LIFE-ND National Project Coordinator Engr. Abiodun Sanni, in his remark, the LIFE-ND National Project Coordinator Mr. Abiodun Sanni, expressed satisfaction that the women, youths have within the short period the programme has been on board have demonstrated excellence and shown that Niger Delta is a resourceful region filled with women and youths who are ready to show that hard pays.

His words: “We are turning you out today to be ambassadors of LIFE-ND project you have been well equipped and capacitated and we are quite confidence that out there you are going to contribute significantly to the economic growth of this state and show that you will become employers of labour within the shortest possible time.

“I want to thank the state government for making this possible through their support, creating the enabling environment for project to thrive, implementing of counterparts funds and also providing all the necessary incentives to make the projects thrive. Thank the federal government, IFAD and the NDDC, who are strong partners.”

Speaking on behalf of the 218 graduating incubatee, the best graduating incubatee, Miss Forcebry Ayebatari, who was presented with a cash prize of N250,000 said the programme has added value and has transform the lives of the beneficiaries from the unemployed to enterprenuers and employers of labour and appealed to the partners to sustain the programme.

She said: “I never knew anything about fisheries or aquaculture, we were taught both theory and practicals, we also practicalize it. We underwent a lot of training including nutrition training. We have benefitted a lot from this training, being a farmer does not mean that you cannot be successful. This project was an eye opener and life changing one for us. It has transformed us from unemployed to employers of labour and entrepreneurs.

“We are appealing to the government and partners to ensure that the programme continues so that our brothers and sisters as well as other people benefit because it is really a wonderful experience.”

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