The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Niger-Delta (LIFE-ND) project and a joint effort between the Federal Government, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have brought over $20 million into the rural economy of Nigeria, marking a significant step forward for the country’s agricultural sector. The injection is a huge step forward in the country’s efforts to improve agriculture and create jobs, especially for the women and young of the Niger Delta.
According to Mr. Sanni Abiodun, Nigeria’s National Programme Coordinator, the LIFE-ND initiative is in perfect harmony with the country’s plan for environmentally friendly agricultural practices. In addition to highlighting sustainable agriculture methods, it is an essential component of the national strategy framework aimed at creating jobs and employing young people. Abia, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, and Ondo are the states that have taken part and have seen tremendous increases in seven important commodities: rice, plantain, oil palm, cocoa, poultry, and fishing.
Speaking on a media tour in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, Mr. Abiodun highlighted the project’s substantial impact on the Niger Delta region’s economic growth and wealth accumulation since its start. To promote sustainable agricultural development and increase income and employment possibilities for women and youth in the Niger Delta region, he emphasized the LIFE-ND project, an initiative of the federal government in collaboration with IFAD/NDDC and the Niger Delta state governments.
Coordination between the NDDC and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, in its capacity as principal implementing agency, has been crucial in securing the necessary counter-funds from the NDDC via the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
The project has effectively invested about $20 million, or over N16 billion, into the rural economy since its beginning, according to Mr. Abiodun, who was highlighting the project’s accomplishments. Our efforts have resulted in the creation of over 12,000 employment and the launch of over 15,960 businesses in the six states that were involved.
Additionally, he mentioned that a large portion of our beneficiaries are now able to consume a healthier natural food, and a comparable number are embracing better practices in agriculture. The lives of the women and youth in the Niger Delta region have been greatly affected by this program.
Beneficiaries with disabilities have been greatly assisted by the project, which is an admirable attempt to involve all members of the community. By aiming high and increasing the percentage of beneficiaries with disabilities from 5% to 10%, the project has shown its dedication to inclusivity and support for people with disabilities.
This massive undertaking exemplifies the power of cross-sector partnerships to spur social and economic progress, especially in areas like the Niger Delta that have been waiting for projects of this magnitude for far too long.