LIFE-ND interacts with media, embarks on media tour of incubation centres in Bayelsa

The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), a rural-based agri-enterprise development organization, has carried out a media tour of selected incubation centres in Bayelsa, after a media interaction.The State Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND, Dr Paniebi Ugo, said the essence of the tour was to ensure visibility as well as let the public know the programmes and projects being embarked upon by the organization.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Wednesday, that the programme is funded by the Federal Government, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).He said that the programme cuts across the nine Niger Delta States, to enable them eradicate poverty in the rural area.Represented by the State Agro-business Promotion Officer, Mr James Okpu, Dr Ugo noted that the project which is to last six years is designed to empower 4,000 beneficiaries in Bayelsa.

He said that it will help in transforming the rural economy by means of enhanced income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women through agri-enterprise development.Ugo explained that the project is currently ongoing in four commondities areas of cassava, aquaculture, poultry and plantain farming which Bayelsa has a comparative advantage.He added that it adopted the incubation model of apprenticeship and mentorship of incubatees, which means the beneficiaries to become agrientrepreneurs.Ugo noted that apart from the payment of a monthly stipend for their upkeep, incubatees, upon the completion of the stipulated two cycle of apprenticeship by an incubator, are given a soft loan of between N700,000 to N1,200,000 for the mentorship phase depending on the commondity as startup.The State Coordinator’s officer carries out regular evaluation and monitoring of incubatees to address shortcomings and challenges.

He noted that inductees have been insured against possible losses by the Nigerian Agriculture Insurance Corporation.Ugo also explained that the programme is meant for the youths, between 18 to 35 years of age, and for women, and single mothers.Speaking to newsmen, the Manager of Bimmo Intergrated Farms LTD., Mr Boudeigha Immotongha, who is also an incubator, said the LIFE-ND Project is a life changing one that has enabled him expand his poultry business as well as mentor several incubatees to become agrientrepreneurs.Immotongha, while thanking IFAD for the support and the funding as well as the opportunity to mentor incubatees, noted that the project is designed to transform the rural communities through Agro-business.

Also speaking, an inductes, Mrs Esther Sam-Arigbe, described the programme as a life transforming, adding that the project will enable her become self reliant.She added that it would go a long way in improving beneficiaries’ livelihoods in the current economic situation. (NAN)