The Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in the Niger Delta (LIFEND) office has trained no fewer than 150 incubators and incubatees on agribusiness development in Edo State. The National Project Coordinator of the programme, Mrs Anthonia Esenwa, said the six days training was to build the capacity of the participants to become entrepreneurs. Esenwa said the project was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for national food security, especially in the Niger Delta region. She noted that the project was an initiative of the Federal Government with loan from IFAD and NDDC, adding that it would be implemented in nine Niger Delta states. She listed the states to include Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, lmo, Ondo and Rivers. Esenwa explained that the project would operate in l0 local government areas and I0 communities in each LGA per state “bringing the total number of participating local governments to 90 and participating communities to 900.
“The project targets unemployed and under-employed youth aged l8-35 as well as women headed households willing to engage in the production, processing and marketing of the selected commodities in their communities. “The selected commodities in Edo are fishery, cassava, rice and poultry.” According to her, it is hoped that at the end of the first phase of this project about 4,250 indigenes of Edo will be empowered with startup loans. Esenwa said LlFE-ND project aimed at enhancing the income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women in the Niger Delta, “through agri-enterprise development on sustainable basis using the incubation model. “The entry point for the implementation of the project is the incubator model.
“This is similar to the apprentice model that has been in existence in the southern part of Nigeria where a youth is attached to an established businessman to learn his line of business for a period of time,” she added. Mr Jude Ekpu, the state project coordinator, LlFE-ND, welcome all Incubators, lncubatees, Resource Persons and other stakeholders to the LlFEND business orientation training for lncubators/lncubatees. Ekpu said that the overall goal of the project was to transform the rural economy by boosting the income of the rural poor.
“I want to encourage you all to take advantage of this training so that at the end of the training, you can set up your businesses,” he said. He listed the participating local government areas in Edo to include Ikpoba-Okha, Orhionmwon, Uhumwode, Ovia North East, Esan West, Esan North East, Esan South East, Etsako Central, Owan west and Akoko-Edo.