Nigerian Government And IFAD Invest $7m In Youth Empowerment

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The Federal Government, in collaboration with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) have spent $7m to support the youths in Ondo State in agriculture through the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises-Niger Delta project.

The National Project Coordinator, FG IFAD/LIFE-ND, Dr Abiodun Sanni, made this known in Akure, the Ondo State capital recently, after his team inspected some farms of the beneficiaries in the state.

According to him, the project is aimed at ensuring food security across the nine Niger Delta states in Nigeria.

He explained that the IFAD/ LIFE-ND project started in 2019 and was targeted at training and empowering about 4,250 youths in agriculture within six years

He said, “Basically in Ondo State, for now, the target is 4,250 beneficiaries in terms of providing the required support.

We have over 3,500 beneficiaries and this project is still ongoing.

“Close to $7m have been expended in the state in providing the infrastructures and supporting the incubates (beneficiaries) in terms of capacity buildings and providing for them in means of sustenance as agro- agro-entrepreneurs.”

It was gathered that no fewer than 3,500 youths have so far benefitted from the programme since its inception.

Project evaluation

In his remarks, the Ondo State Coordinator of the IFAD/LIFE-NG, Olawale Ademola, explained that the visit of the national coordinator and his team was about supervision, monitoring, and evaluation of the project.

“The IFAD team in collaboration with the Federal Government team came to see some of the things we have implemented on the field in terms of empowerment in Ondo State. I know that the team is highly impressed.

However, the team cannot get to all our beneficiaries across the state where they have visited so far. The project has been successful.

“The project has so many facilities.

The first phase of the project will end next year with 10 local government areas, from which 10 communities have benefited, one from each LG.

So, the next phase will be extended to the remaining eight LGAs.

The beneficiaries of this project can access loans from any available credit window without any bottleneck.

That has ensured good sustainability for this project,” he stated.

Beneficiary

One of the beneficiaries, Mrs Flora Oluwaniyi, narrated how she was empowered with 300-day-old chicks (broilers), 18 bags of broiler starters, drinkers, feeders, and medications.

She added that through hard work, she was able to expand her farming business, going into large-scale egg and fish production.

She reported that with the help of the project, she was able to secure a loan of N6m from a microfinance bank.

Punch news/Jamiu Ogunshe

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