3 The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the LIFE-ND project in Edo is being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Federal and Edo governments.
4 Ekpu stated that the project, which started in 2020, had so far empowered 1,150 youths and women in the state in the first phase of the project.
5 He said that at the onset of the project, 250 youths and women were trained and graduated.
6 According to the LIFE-ND coordinator, the project aimed at building young entrepreneurs across the value chains of four commodities mainly poultry, fishery, cassava and rice.
8 “Across the state, we have selected about 900 youths and women to participate in this second phase of the project.
9 “The project will run for six years in the first instance, after which additional financing will be sourced for another six years.
10 Basically, the project is to be for 12 years.
11 “Our ultimate goal is for the beneficiaries to set up independent businesses and improve on the economy in the various communities,” he said.
12 Ekpu disclosed that the orientation programme was taking place simultaneously in 52 communities across 10 local government areas of Edo.
He listed the local governments as Uhunwode, Ovia North-East, Orhionwon, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan West, Esan North-East, Esan South-East, Owan West, Etsako Central and Akoko-Edo.
Also, the National Project Coordinator, Mr Sanni Abiodun, commended Gov. Godwin Obaseki for the payment of the counterpart fund for the project.
14 “The LIFE-ND project is being implemented based on an agribusiness incubation model patterned after the model of the Igbo business apprenticeship strategy to train and empower youths and women.
According to him, the project does not give out cash, rather it supports the beneficiaries with inputs they require to set up the agribusiness.
16 The State Commissioner for Agriculture and Food Security, Stephen Idehenre, said government was committed to empowering youths and women positively through agriculture.
17 Idehenre noted that the state government had created an enabling environment for agriculture and agribusiness to thrive in the state.
18 He urged them to be ambassadors of the state in agribusiness by allowing their successes tell the story.
19 He said they were were carefully selected because government needed people interested in agriculture and agribusiness.
“This programme is geared towards lifting you out of poverty,” the commissioner said.