By Emem Idio, Yenagoa

YENAGOA-THE Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in the Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, has engaged nine hundred youths in Bayelsa State for training and empowerment under the incubator and incubatees mentorship model.

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 during an orientation programme for the new trainees at the Bayelsa State Aquaculture Village in Igbogene, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND, Dr. Panebi Ugo, said the newly engaged youths are the second batch, adding that the first batch of three hundred incubatees have completed their training and graduated.

He pointed out that the youths will be trained in four commodities where there state has comparative advantage, which include, aquaculture (fisheries), cassava, plantain and poultry, adding that the duration for the training was three months or more depending on the commodity.

Ugo, who pointed out that the programme was working in one hundred communities in the state, expressed the delight that the programme has recorded huge success since its inception three years ago.

He said, “We started the project almost three years now, we are almost at the middle of the project, the first phase is six years and a lot gains and successes have been recorded over the years.

“Every state has its agricultural commodities based on comparative advantage and what they know how to do best. For Bayelsa State we are into aquaculture which is fisheries, poultry, cassava and plantain.

Majorly the programme is for the youths both male and female, for the records, the programme is for youths between the ages of 18-35. The vulnerable women like widows are also captured including people living with disabilities.

“We have 300 persons that are already in this programme and we are bringing in another 900 persons. Whatever commodity you choose to specialize in, you will be mentored and trained under people who have been doing the business over the years. You will be trained under 3 months and within the 3 months you will be given some stipends for transportation.

“We are working with 100 communities in Bayelsa State and you are supposed to be within a particular community (farm) and you will be given some stipends for transportation.

“As incubatees that are working with the incubators, at the end of your training, you will be given major inputs, we have a working template. We also have a monitoring and evaluation to know what you are doing, it is not about giving you money and you run away, so we will monitor you to know where you are training, and at the end of the day there should be an improvement in your life because that is the objective of this programme.”

In his remark, the Programme Manager, Agricultural Development Programme, ADP, Bayelsa State, Mr. Jackson Dabeyegha, commended the federal and Bayelsa State governments for ensuring that more people benefits, adding that if the programme continues it will empower the youths and turn them into entrepreneurs.

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