The Niger Delta Development Commis-sion, (NDDC) is partnering with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in a $129.21 million Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Project in the Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, to create jobs and reduce youth restiveness.
This was declared by the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Dr Akwagaga Lelegima Enyia, when officials of the United Nations (UN) agency, led by the IFAD Country Representative, Ms Nadine Gbossa, paid her a courtesy visit at the Commission’s headquarters in Port Harcourt.
She said: “I believe that this partnership between IFAD and the NDDC will enhance the opportunities of our youths and women and also alleviate poverty in the Niger Delta region. The NDDC is willing, ready and prepared to partner with IFAD to increase food productivity and create employment opportunities that will meaningfully engage our youths and women.
“I believe that with this programme, the issue of poverty will be taken care of and our youths and women will be happy to be engaged positively.”
The NDDC boss explained that the LIFE-ND project would address the problem of restiveness among the youths by sustainably enhancing incomes and food security, and creating jobs for young rural people and women in the Niger Delta.
The IFAD Country Representative explained that LIFE-ND programme was designed to get the youths and women to be engaged in productive activities relating to commercial agriculture.
According to her, the project would build on the successes of earlier IFAD-supported projects to develop the supply of skilled youth labour and strengthen the capacity of institutions at the state and community levels to work with private sector actors.
The Country Representative said that creating jobs for youths and women was a priority for IFAD, “which is a specialized agency of the United Nations that is financing rural development projects and developing agricultural programmes that have contributed to increased productivity and incomes in Nigeria.”
Gbossa affirmed: “We are committed to getting the programme started as soon as possible so that we can create opportunities for the youths and women in the Niger Delta region to improve their livelihood and increase their income. We want them to engage in agriculture as business.”
In his brief on the LIFE-ND project, the NDDC Director Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr George Ero, said that as co-financier, the Commission was expected to facilitate the operations of the scheme in the Niger Delta and see to its sustainability.
He noted that the overall goal of the LIFE-ND programme was to realize a transformed rural economy in the Niger Delta from which the rural population can derive prosperity and equal benefit.
Ero said: “The project development objective will enhance income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women through agricultural-enterprise development on a sustainable basis in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.”