By Ifeanyi Olannye
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has approved about N9.7 million for 48 beneficiaries of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project been impacted by flood in Delta.
The National Coordinator, LIFE-ND, Mr Abiodun Sanni, disclosed this on Thursday at the disbursement of the IFAD Flood Recovery and Intervention Funds and Inputs Distribution to the Flood Victims at Aboh, Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta.
Sanni said the intervention fund had become necessary to provide succour to the LIFE-ND project beneficiaries who were affected by flood that wreaked havoc on communities where the incubatees beneficiaries) located their businesses.
He noted that the LIFE-ND project was initiated by the Federal Government of Nigeria, with loan from IFAD and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and being implemented in nine states of the Niger Delta Region.
Sanni, represented by the NDDC Representative in LIFE-ND, Mrs Stella Manureh, said that the day’s event was unique because it afforded the National Project Coordinator opportunity to inaugurate the newly completed Cassava Processing Mill in Aboh by Delta LIFE-ND Coordination Office.
According to Sanni, the overall goal of LIFE-ND project is “transformation of the rural economy in which all rural population can derive prosperity and equal benefit.
“It is supported by a strategic Project Development Objective (PDO) which is to enhance income, food security, and jobs creation for rural youths and women through agribusiness development which are enhanced on sustainable basis.
“I will like to express my deep gratitude to IFAD for this kind gesture in sharing solidarity and compassion towards the project and the beneficiaries for all the losses suffered as a result of the devastating effect of the flood.
“And for providing a catalytic and timely support and approving the sum of $600,000 US dollar to the entire affected participating states and the LGAs of the region.
“For Delta state, a total sum of N9.76 million was approved to provide support for 48 beneficiaries across the severely flood affected LGAs; Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Ethiope East and Ughelli North LGAs.
“The flood victims are to receive inputs in the form of fertilisers, poultry feeds, fish feeds, cassava stems, day old chicks, juveniles among others and cash disbursements,” he said.
While urging the beneficiaries to effectively utilise the flood recovery intervention fund, he lauded IFAD for the understanding and timely intervention and thanked the Aboh community for their support.
Sanni also appreciated Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta, for recognising the role of agriculture in the development of the state in terms of contribution to GDP, jobs and food security and his commitment to LIFE-ND project.
On his part, State LIFE-ND Project Coordinator, Mr Collins Ashoro, said 10 LGAs out the 25 LGAs in Delta were participating with 100 communities (10 communities from each LGA) benefiting from the project.
According to Ashoro, the total expected direct beneficiaries (incubatees) of the project is 4,250 with a 50:50 ratio of male to female.
“With this number, Delta state will be contributing to the overall target of 25,000 beneficiaries in the nine Niger Delta Region.
“In response to the devastating effect of the flood and in an effort to provide succour to our affected incubatees (beneficiaries) in Delta, IFAD approved N9.76 million, each beneficiary will receive a sum of N203, 339 which has been lodged into their bank accounts.
“We are here today to witness the flowing; disbursement of fund to LIFE-ND Project incubatees impacted by flood; distribution of fertilisers, poultry and fish feeds, cassava stems to flood victims.
“Also, Distribution of economic trees seedlings; opening of the newly Cassava Processing Mill building; disbursement of working capital to incubatees from Akarai community in fish production.
“And the distribution of Agri-equipment to incubatees already mentored on mobile cassava griding and palm kernel cracking.
Ashoro said that the cassava mill was built for the people of Aboh, adding that it would be equipped with state of the art processing equipment to enhance production of starch, garri and other products to boost the local economy.
According to him, the LIFE-ND project has graduated 320 incubatees in the first two batches since implementation in 2020 in the priority commodities and along the value chain of cassava, palm oil, fishery and poultry in Delta.
“This third batch totalling 900 incubatees (beneficiaries) dully selected across the participating communities in the state, over 80 per cent have completed their mentorship and are being set up.
“Today, we are also using this occasion to distribute agricultural input and equipment to 45 youths who are not flood victims but are benefiting from the project agribusiness support.
“They constitute the last batch of the 650 beneficiaries earlier empowered this month.”
While thanking the FGN/IFAD, the state government for the support to actualise the project, Ashoro tasks the beneficiaries on the need to judiciously utilise the items and equipment.
In their remarks, Chief Amechi Chime, Secretary, Aboh Community Development; Youths President, Mr Ozomena Ajeh and Mr Chuks Dibiagwu indigenes of Aboh, lauded the project and appreciated the impact on the community and boost on it’s economy in terms of jobs creation, food and wealth creation.
On the part of the Incubatees impacted by flood, Mr Kingsley kpekpe and Miss Idu Ossai, said the intervention fund would enable them recover fast from the impact of the flood which almost left them empty.