YENAGOA- AS parts of efforts to curb youth relativeness in the Niger Delta, the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in Niger Delta ,LIFE-ND, a rural based agric-enterprise development organization funded by the federal government, and assisted by the International Fund for Agriculture Development, IFAD, and the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, says it is mentoring over 4,000 youths and women in Bayelsa State for empowerment in agro-business enterprise.
State Project Coordinator of the Programme, Dr Panebi Ugo, disclosed this in Yenagoa, during a media chat and tour of some training (Incubators) farms located in various parts of the state.
He explained that the template of the programme is that the trainees or incubatees are assigned to an established farms where they will be trained and mentored based on their commodity enterprises, after which
they will be given a working capital which is a revolving loan as a starter packs.
Dr. Ugo, who was represented by the State Agro-business Promotion Officer, Mr. James Okpu, said the project is currently ongoing in four commondities areas of cassava, fishery, poultry and plantation farming where the state has comparative advantage.
According to him, the project which is to last for six years and subject torenewal will transform the rural economy by means of enhanced income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women through agro-enterprise development.
He said: “The programme was conceived to address the issues of militancy, criminality and unemployment in the Niger Delta especially targeting our youths and women. The youths are from the ages of 18 to 35 but the women have no age bracket.
“The project is so designed in such a way that about 35,500 women and youths were targeted in the nine Niger Delta states but for us here in Bayelsa we have about 4,250 women and youths to affect their lives. We have 100 communities to work with and we have what we called the incubator model which is based on apprenticeship and mentorship.
“These women and youths are identified in the communities and are taken to an experienced entrepreneur to teach them the skills of that specific business and it is mainly on agriculture and Bayelsa State came out strongly in four commodities, fisheries, plantian, cassava and poultry.”
Speaking to newsmen, the Manager of Bimmo Intergrated Farms Ltd, Mr. Boudeigha Immotongha who is also an incubator said the LIFE-ND Project is a life changing one that has enabled him expand on his poultry business as well as mentor several youths (incubatees) to become agro-entrepreneurs.
Also speaking, an incubatee (trainee) in fisheries, Mrs. Esther Sam-Arigbe described the programme as a life transforming initiative, adding that the project will enable her cater for her family and become self reliant