Abuja — As youths continue to be in the front burner for intervention programmes in Nigeria by development partners and donor agencies, in a joint 2nd Supervision Mission, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, Federal Government and Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, have commended impact made by the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND).
Speaking on the impact of the project, the IFAD Nigeria Country Programme Manager, Patrick Habamenshi, made the commendation during the team's inspection of incubation centres spanning across different communities in Delta, Bayelsa and Ondo States where young people from the area are currently undergoing capacity building on various agricultural value chains and different agribusiness ventures.
According to Habamenshi who was particularly impressed at the performance of the incubatees and the way the agricultural potentials of the youths in the communities were being harnessed by the project said the project was designed to address the challenges of youth restiveness and other social vices in the Niger Delta region by making them productive, self-reliant and contribute to the Gross Domestic Product, GDP, and also to create more employment in the region.
The LIFE-ND project funded by IFAD is aimed at enhancing income, food security and job creation for rural youths within the age bracket of 18-35 years and women headed household with children below 15 years through the incubation model in Niger Delta states of Abia, Bayelsa, Edo, Delta, Ondo, Cross River, Imo, Akwa Ibom and Rivers.
He said: "We are very pleased with everything we are seeing at the incubation centres.
"When the federal government of Nigeria was thinking about the project with the Niger Delta Development Commission, they were looking at finding activities for young people who might otherwise go and find themselves in trouble.
"The project is pulling young people into agricultural farming activities, when we look at what we are seeing on the ground it is very encouraging. You see young people explaining in their own words what they learnt in this incubation.
"They are also demonstrating and practicing what they learnt which gives us confidence that they can stand on their own when they graduate and pull other young people into agriculture."
In the same vein, the Director Project Coordinating Unit, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Bright Wategire, giving his assessment and score about the project lauded LIFE-ND project said it is gradually delivering on the goals and mandate of the project.
"We have gone to incubation sites where we saw incubatees under training and based on what we saw, we believe the project is going on as planned, and on a long run the project will deliver a number of youths out of joblessness into something profitable", he added.e
The National Programme Coordinator, LIFE-ND, Engr. Sanni Abiodun, also commended the incubators and incubates, and said intervention of the project had provided opportunities for employment and income generation in its participating states.
Meanwhile, one of the beneficiaries in Bayelsa State speaking on the impact of the project, Ruth Forcebry, expressed joy as an incubate, because it has afforded her the skill in agribusiness with the knowledge she had gotten over the period she has been an incubatee.
"I know now how to feed fish, how to care for fish, I learnt how to write a business plan and I can boldly say I can now manage a fish farm", she said.
Vanguard News Nigeria