FG, IFAD to implement N46bn agricultural project in Niger Delta

The Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development is implementing the N46.83 billion Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE-ND) across the nine Niger Delta states.

The project is targeted at developing some selected agricultural value chains, create jobs and create wealth for the region.

Out of the nine states, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) would be supporting six states with $60 million, while Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) would provide $30 million for the remaining three states.

Inaugurating the Project Steering Committee, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono said the Committee would provide oversight functions in the implementation of the project.

“The organizational framework of LIFE-ND project has four levels: Federal, Regional, State and Local Government. Today we are inaugurating the National Steering Committee to be Chaired by the Minister and Permanent Secretary and composed of representatives from relevant departments and agencies.

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“The National Steering Committee is expected to meet once in a year and its strategic role to provide oversight functions in the implementation of LIFE-ND and also approve the Annual Work Plan and Budget.

“The LIFE Programme Coordinator will serve as the Secretary while the Regional LIFE-ND serve as the Co-Secretary.

“Under the implementation of LIFE-ND project, the Federal Government of Nigeria has identified priority value chains for the Niger Delta region.

“These value chains that have the potential to contribute immensely to annual agricultural productivity, food security and value chains development are cassava, Plantain, rice, fish, cocoa, oil Palm and poultry.

“The LIFE-ND implementation arrangement, under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, has nine benefiting oil-producing states of Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Abia and Delta, in a six-year implementation period and another six years financing gaps, making a total of 12nyears project cycle,” Nanono said.

He said the government’s plan to replicate the LIFE-ND project in the remaining 5 geo-political zones of the country has reached an advanced stage.

The Director Project Coordinating Department, Maimuna Habib, said the Steering Committee would ensure prudent use of the fund for the project.

“This National Steering Committee is to ensure that there is a prudent use of fund within the project so that people don’t spend the fund the way they like.

“This project is from IFAD and it is worth $60 million for 6 states, and the remaining 3 states gets $30 million, which is 6 states funded by IFAD, while states are funded by NDDC.

“All the projects are supposed to create jobs, improve agricultural production, creation of value chain, and we link them to market. We have 10 projects under the Project Coordinating Department,” she added.

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