By Ifeanyi Olannye
The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) has disbursed the sum of 2.1 million dollars (N819.4 million) and empowered 1,220 youths and women in agribusiness in Delta since inception.
The State Project Coordinator, Mr Collins Ashoro, disclosed this on Wednesday in Asaba, at a Media Roundtable on LIFE-ND Project Achievement in Delta since inception.
Ashoro explained that the project was co-sponsored by the Federal Government, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the participating State Government with the major objective to ensure food security, fight poverty, create jobs in the Niger Delta religion.
He said that the project which had six years life cycle, began in 2019 and would end in 2025 in the first phase, adding that it had the projection to run for a second phase from 2025 to 2031.
Ashoro disclosed that Delta government had paid the mandatory counterpart cash contribution of N49 million for year 2020 which had facilitated project implementation in 58 incubation centres in 52 communities in 10 local government areas.
He added that a memo for the request for the 2022 counterpart fund payment had been sent to Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa for his approval to enable the project drawn down fund to pursue another engagement.
He said that the 10 selected local government areas to participate in LIFE-ND Project in Delta were Bomadi, Burutu, Ethiope East, Ika North East, Ika South, Ndokwa West, Ndokwa East, Okpe, Sapele and Ughelli North.
He added that in each local government areas LIFE-ND implemented project activities in 10 communities.
According to Ashoro, the sum of N819.4 million was disbursed based on the following categories; N102.1 million for civil works; N18.8 million for equipment and materials; N248.8 million was for consultation(training and workshops), while N89.9 million was for operating cost and N359.9 million for grants and subsidies.
“From our last round table discussion in 2021, we had 320 incubatees and 58 incubator, but now we have 98 incubators and new 900 incubatees making it 1,220 incubatees so far
“Delta State LIFE-ND Project has recorded a total of 1,220 (28.7 per cent) beneficiaries (incubatees) since Inception against 4,250 for the Project’s life cycle.
“These beneficiaries are categorized into producers, processors and service enterprises in line with the value chain.
“The state has a total of 790 producers, 220 processors and 210 service enterprises.
“Similarly, the beneficiary gender disaggregation has 521 male youth, 601 female youth, 92 Female Household and six Persons With Usability ( PWD) which purposively targeted 5 per cent.”
Ashoro said that the project was ready to recruit a new set of incubatees targeting the state projections to empower a total number of 4,250 youths and women before 2025 under the LIFE-ND project in the state.
“Resulting from the support given to incubatees in Delta, over 397 individual enterprises established by project beneficiaries in the state are at various stages of development.
“These enterprises were established in the areas of Cassava production and processing, Oil Palm processing, Fish and Poultry production (Broiler) and homestead vegetable gardens.
“On cassava production, 70 hectares of land has been cultivated with TME-419 cassava variety by 30 beneficiaries, in Ossissa, Urhuoka and Urhuagbesa communities in Ndokwa East and Ethiope East LGAs respectively for the first cycle of production,” he said.
According to him over N379 million has been disbursed as stipends, seed capital, working capital and service charge to Incubators and Incubatees and still ongoing.
” No fewer than 40,000 day old chicks had been distributed to 80 incubatees across 16 poultry Incubation centers.
“Also, 8, 000 bags of poultry feeds (starters and finishers) were distributed to 80 incubatees across 16 Incubation centers.
” While, 255,000 Juvenile catfish .and 8,500 bags of fish feeds had been distributed to 170 incubatees across 28 Fishery incubation centers.
“And, no fewer than 900 Incubatees have been set up in the second batch in their chosen Enterprises with the required resources to commence their entrepreneurial journey using the LIFE-ND Project Agribusiness Incubation Model,” he said.
He said that the project had mainstreaming areas which includes Nutrition, Environmental and Climate Change as well as Financial Inclusion.
According to Ashoro, sensitization and awareness creation on nutrition and climate change as it affects agriculture had been carried out across 57 Incubation centers
“Training on nutrition had been conducted for Project Officers as well as selected Incubators on Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture which was organized by USAID in collaboration with LIFE-ND Project in the period under review,” Ashoro said. (NAN)