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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, on Monday, said the federal government will deploy N46.83 billion in the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE-ND) across the nine Niger Delta states.

Mr Nanono announced the project while inaugurating the Project Steering Committee, in Abuja.

The ministry’s website revealed that the project is designed in response to the limited readily available options for the “disadvantaged” (youth and women) in the rural and suburban communities and to improve their means of livelihood.

LIFE-ND “promotes community-based on-farm and off-farm business activities along key agricultural value chains as a mechanism for job and wealth creation amongst unemployed youth and women in aforementioned households.”

The LIFE Value Chains are selected based on the ecological advantages of the different communities to practise market oriented agriculture.

The project, which is targeted at developing some selected agricultural value chains, will create jobs and create wealth for the region, officials say.

The LIFE-ND implementation arrangement, will ve implemented in nine benefiting oil producing states of Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa, Ondo, Akwa-Ibom, Imo, Abia and Delta.

The project has a six-year implementation period and another six years financing gap period making a total of 12 years project cycle.

Out of the nine states, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is expected to support six states with $60 million, while Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) will provide $30 million for the remaining three states.

Implementation

Mr Nanono said the committee would provide oversight functions in the implementation of the project.

“The organisational framework of LIFE-ND project has four levels: Federal, Regional, State and Local Government,” he said.

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“The National Steering Committee is expected to meet once in a year and its strategic role to provide oversight functions in the implementation of LIFE-ND and also approve the Annual Work Plan and Budget.”

He said under the implementation of LIFE-ND project, the federal government has identified priority value chains for the Niger Delta region.

“These value chains that have the potential to contribute immensely to annual agricultural productivity, food security and value chains development in cassava, plantain, rice, fish, cocoa, oil palm and poultry,” he said.

He said the government’s plan to replicate the LIFE-ND project in the remaining five geo-political zones of the country has reached an advanced stage.

Meanwhile, the Director, Project Coordinating Department, Maimuna Habib, said the Steering Committee would ensure prudent use of the fund for the project.

“This National Steering Committee is to ensure that there is prudent use of fund within the project so that people don’t spend the fund the way they like.

“All the projects are supposed to create jobs, improve agricultural production, creation of value chain, and we link them to market. We have 10 projects under the Project Coordinating Department,” she added.

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