FG begins implementation of N46.83bn agric scheme in Niger Delta – Minister

The Federal Government says it has engaged 140 trainees to support the take-off of 129.17 million U.S. dollars (N46.83 billion) agricultural scheme in the Niger Delta.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, disclosed this at the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise-Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) Project Facilitation Training in Port Harcourt on Monday.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is investing 60 million dollars while the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will provide 30 million dollars for the project.

The Federal Government will invest 4.91 million dollars while Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rives states will collectively contribute 3.76 million dollars.

According to Nanono, the scheme would be implemented over a period of 12 years with initial first phase of six years and an additional six years in the project life-cycle.

“So, the workshop is designed to expose participants to workings of the project as well as acquaint the project teams at all levels on what is expected of them.

“The Federal Government is passionate at bringing development to the people through job creation as well as ensuring that farmers’ incomes were increased.”

Represented by Dr Bright Wategire, Director of Project Coordinating Unit in the ministry, Nanono said aside IFAD, federal government was also engaging with other development partners to support the nation’s economy.

“Job creation is one of the greatest challenges that Nigeria is facing, so, the federal government in its wisdom decided to come up with a lot of programmes.

“The programmes are designed to bring massive job creation and increase incomes of farmers across board to enable them have a sustainable income within the system,” the minister said.

Ms Nadine Gbossa, the Country Representative of IFAD, said the agricultural scheme would enhance food security and income generation when fully implemented.

She noted that IFAD had in December 2017 approved the financing to the Federal Government for the funding of LIFE-ND project.

“The LIFE-ND project offers business and employment opportunities and will tackle the increasing food demands in Nigeria.

“Our objective is to work with the Federal Government and NDDC to invest in women and youth, so that they can produce more, link up with private sector and earn sizeable income ” Gbossa said.

On his part, the NDDC Managing Director, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, assured of the commission’s willingness to provide its 30 million dollars counterpart fund.

Pondei, who was represented by George Ero, an official in the commission, expressed optimism that the project would engage thousands of unemployed youths, especially in rural areas.

“Life-ND is designed to be implemented in nine Niger Delta states, commencing with 10 Local Government Areas (LGAs) and 10 communities per LGA – with option of expansion,” he said.

Mr Sanni Fatai, National Project Coordinator for LIFE-ND, pointed out that the scheme would enhance income, food security and job creation in rural areas on sustainable basis. (NAN)