The Abia State Project Coordinating Office of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), has commenced the distribution of farm inputs to beneficiaries in the state.
The project also started the training of another set of beneficiaries in an entrepreneurship-based vegetable home garden.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the separate activities were held concurrently on Friday at the project’s premises in Umuahia.
LIFE-ND is being funded by International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in collaboration with the Federal Government and Niger Delta Development Commission as well as the state government.
The project, which is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for national food security, is for implementation in the nine Niger Delta states but currently operating in six of them.
The State Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu said that the project had different activities lined up for its annual work and plan.
He said the beneficiaries for the home garden agric-enterprise would be trained in biofortified crops such as orange-fleshed sweet potato, pro-vitamin A cassava, cucumber, okoro, pumpkin leave and corn.
He said the set of beneficiaries for the home garden, 90 of them would be provided with inputs and running cost as they would be doing the agric-enterprises within their homes.
Onyeizu said that the beneficiaries comprising young men and women were drawn from different communities in 10 local government areas in the state, which the project is operating.
He said that beneficiaries would be expected to sell and make money out of produces as well as re-invest the profits in their agric-enterprises.
Also in a remark during the distribution of inputs to another set of 72 beneficiaries, who had already graduated from the project’s training, Onyeizu charged them to utilise the inputs being given to them.
He said that the 72 were among the 650 youths already trained by the project in different agric-enterprises that needed to be empowered.
He said that the inputs were being given to them in trust and in confidence that they would use it for the betterment of themselves and the people around them.
“It is expected that your own personal income at end of the day will increase and you will be empowered economically.”
The state project coordinator said that some of the inputs were still in the project’s warehouse, and would also be distributed to those beneficiaries as at the period when they would need them for their agric-enterprises.
He said: “It is now your responsibility to ensure that these inputs result in something that will economically empower you in agricultural development.
“These inputs are given to you as loan, so you must be strict with your book keeping records and ensure proper documentation because we will come and look at what you are doing at the end of the day.”
In a brief remark at the distribution ceremony, the National Project Coordinator, Mr Abiodun Sanni, who was represented by the project’s consultant, Dr Emmanuel Ochalifu, commended the state project coordinating office for its efforts and successes.
Sanni, an engineer urged the beneficiaries to avail themselves of the opportunity by ensuring optimal use of the inputs being given to them.
In a response on behalf of the State Government, Mrs Chinyere Nwogwugu, a Director in the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, applauded Abia LIFE-ND for its contributions in the empowerment of young men and women in the state.
A beneficiary, Mr Emeka Okoro, who was given a haulage truck, expressed gratitude to the organisers and pledged to make good use of it.
NAN reports that some of the items distributed during the first phase of the distribution were haulage trucks, rice sealing machines, agro-chemical products, wheelbarrows, de-feathering machines, generating sets, rain boots amongst others.