From Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
No Fewer than 900 youths and women were yesterday, selected to benefit from the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) agribusiness programme in Edo.
The LIFE-ND project in Edo was being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Federal and Edo State government.
The Project Coordinator, LIFE-ND in Edo, Mr Jude Ekpu made this known during a one-way orientation programme organized for the beneficiaries in Benin.
Ekpu said that the project which started in 2020 had trained and graduated about 250 youths and women in the first phase of the project.
He reiterated that Edo was engaging in four agricultural commodities such as poultry, fishery, cassava and rice.
“Today, we are conducting orientation for another batch of beneficiaries who are the incubatees, quick win and the incubators.
“So across the state, we have selected about 900 youths and women to participate in this second phase of the project.
“The project is running for six years in the first instance after which additional financing will be sourced for another six years. Basically the project is a 12-year project.
” We want to build young entrepreneurs across the value chains of the four commodities we are supporting in Edo.
“Our ultimate goal is for the beneficiaries to set up independent businesses and improve on the economy in the various communities,” he said.
According to him, over 1,150 youths and women have so far be empowered since the project started in the state.
He further stated that the orientation programme was taking place simultaneously in 52 communities across 10 local government areas of Uhunwode, Ovia North East and Orhionwon.
Others are Ikpoba-Okha,Esan West, Esan North East, Esan South East, Owan west, Etsako Central and Akoko-Edo.
Also speaking, The National Project Coordinator, Engr. Sanni Abiodun commended governor Godwin Obaseki for the payment of the counterpart fund for the project.
Abiodun, represented by Mr Anthonia Esenwa, the project business coordinate in the Niger Delta, said the project was designed and implemented through a incubation model.
“The LIFE-ND project is implemented through an agribusiness incubation model using the model of the Igbo business apprenticeship strategy to train and empower the youths
According to him, the project does not give out cash. We support them with inputs they require to set the agribusiness.
In his remarks, the State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Stephen Idehenre said that the state government was committed to empowering the youth positively through agriculture.
Idehenre noted that the state government has created an enabling environment for agriculture and agribusiness to thrive in the state.
“I want you all to be ambassadors of the state in agribusiness by allowing your successes tell the story.
“You were all carefully selected because we needed people that are interested in agriculture and agribusiness.
According to the Commissioner, the programme is geared towards lifting you out of poverty.