By Omolola Pedro
About 38,000 women and youths from the Niger Delta region of Nigeria have started benefitting from the US$60 million livelihood project, funded by the Federal Government and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The beneficiaries have expressed their gratitude to those behind the multimillion-dollar project in an interactive session with journalists in Port Harcourt, River State.
It was gathered that while some of the trainees, known as incubatees, have learned poultry farming, others are already making fortunes from cash crops, even as many of them have already become employers of labour.
The national coordinator of the project tagged, FGN/NDDC/IFAD Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises – Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), Engr. Abiodun Sanni, explained that the initiative was a game changer as many graduates, who were unable to find employment are now employers.
Sanni, who was in attendance with beneficiaries at the media roundtable, said that the project, which began in December 2019, covered nine oil-producing states under the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Bayelsa, Rivers, Abia, Ondo, Cross River, Akwa-Ibom, Edo, and Imo and Delta states.
According to him, the NDDC was expected to provide US$30 million worth of funding for the three states of Akwa Ibom, Imo, and Rivers, while the IFAD is providing US$60 million for projects in Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Ondo.
He further said that as of December 31, 2022, LIFE-ND had supported over 700 incubators and facilitated the establishment of 5,194 women and youths incubatees enterprises.
“Additionally, a total of 6,964 incubators and incubates including women, youths and the vulnerable people were trained on various topics in agricultural entrepreneurship and good agricultural practices, covering the cycle of the beneficiary’s business of choice,” Sanni said.