in the Niger Delta, LIFE-ND, being driven by the Niger Delta Development
Commission, NDDC, in partnership with the International Fund for
Agricultural Development, IFAD, is targeted at creating 38,250 jobs in
the agricultural sector.
Speaking at a one-day stakeholder’s meeting of the LIFE-ND project at
the Hotel Presidential Port Harcourt on Thursday, the NDDC Acting
Managing Director, Dr Akwagaga Lelegima Enyia, stated that the goal was
to transform the rural economy of the Niger Delta region and improve the
livelihood of the citizens of the region.
Dr Enyia, who was represented by the NDDC Director Special Duties, Mr
Nosa Agbongiasede, said that LIFE-ND was planned with a financing gap of
six years, adding that it had both a first phase of six years, with
parallel finance from NDDC to the tune of US$30million and an additional
six years to be financed in the future by other partners and additional
According to the Acting Managing Director, the total project cost to be
incurred during the 12-year implementation period, including price and
physical contingencies, duties and taxes, was estimated at
She stated: “The project directly supports the Federal Government’s
agricultural policy and the strategic framework for youth employment and
job creation. The strategic framework addresses the large and growing
number of restless unemployed youths, especially in the rural areas. It
seeks inclusion of young people in profitable agribusiness.”
Dr Enyia stated that LIFE-ND would be implemented in the nine Niger
Delta States and was designed to commence with 10 local government areas
and 10 communities per local government.
The NDDC boss noted that IFAD had a global mandate of eradicating
poverty through agricultural interventions targeted at rural
communities, stating that: “The FGN/NDDC/IFAD partnership is a novel one
designed to improve the living standards of the rural populace. This in
turn is expected to reduce rural-urban migration and criminal
Dr Enyia reiterated the commitment of the NDDC to continuously partner
with development organisations like the IFAD in bringing the best to the
people of the region.
In his own speech, the NDDC Director Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr
George Ero, said that the focus on agriculture would help to diversify
the resource base of the country and reduce the dependence on oil and
gas in the Niger Delta.
He observed that the NDDC had always recognized agriculture as the way
forward for Nigeria, adding that it would continue to support IFAD to
integrate rural dwellers into agricultural entrepreneurship.
Ero said that as co-financier, the NDDC would facilitate the operations
of the LIFE-ND programmes in the Niger Delta and see to its
In her remarks, the IFAD Country Representative, Ms Nadine Gbossa,
explained that the LIFE-ND programme would give additional opportunities
to the youths and women in the Niger Delta region.
She said that IFAD was very keen to see the success of the programme,
noting that the UN agency would give priority to it and collaborate with
the other funding partners to ensure its success.
She said that the partnership between IFAD and the NDDC would enhance
the opportunities of youths and women and also alleviate poverty in the
Niger Delta region by creating employment opportunities that would
meaningfully engage the youths and women.
Throwing more light on the programme, the National Project Coordinator
for LIFE-ND programme, Engr.Abiodun Sanni, emphasized that it would
enhance the income, food security and job creation for rural youths and
women through agricultural enterprise development on a sustainable basis
in the Niger Delta.
He said that apart from engaging 38,250 youths and women, it would also
establish 900 enterprise incubators from among the target group.
“Overall, the project will target 50 per cent male and 50 per cent
female,” he observed.
Engr. Sanni said that the implementation would be facilitated by
different committees, including the National Steering Committee,
Technical Support Committee and State Project Steering Committee.