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IFAD reviews $97.8m intervention in Nigeria

Photo:Archive/Radio Nigeria

The Mid-Term Review of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises in the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) has shown that the project which is jointly implemented by the Federal Government, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the International Fund for Agriculture (IFAD), has benefited 14,155 farmers in the six participating states.

The Nigerian Country Director of IFAD, Mrs. Dede Ekoue who stated this at the Official Launch of the Joint Mid-Term Review Mission of LIFE-ND, said the total cost of the project was $97.8 million, with IFAD contributing $60million.

The participating states include Abia, Cross River, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Ondo.

She said the mid- term review revealed that the project has made significant progress including an outreach of 14,155 smallholder farmers as against a target of 25,500 representing 55.5 per cent.

According to her, the uniqueness of LIFE-ND lies in its innovative incubation approach to youth entrepreneurs taking into account gender equality.

“The project has engaged 792 mature businesses (enterprise incubators) who are working with the project to create and coach 6,035 new enterprises (incubatees) which, represent gainful jobs for women and youth in Nigeria.

“To boost the achievement of nutrition goal, a total of 2500 community women and youth have been trained on the use and cultivation of bio-fortified planting materials pro vitamin A cassava, brown rice, fruits, orange fleshed sweet potato, and vegetable homestead establishment in over 39 Schools and 150 Incubation Centres to improve nutrition and income generation.

“It is worth noting a total of 6,500 hectares have been acquired to facilitate access of women and youth beneficiaries to land, a critical asset for scaling up agriculture activities.

“We are also pleased to report that the assessment conducted shows that over 74% LIFE-ND beneficiaries have reported an increase in profit and hence increased income, which reflects positive impact on poverty”, Mrs. Ekoue explained.

The IFAD Country Director further stated that the progress made by the project were within a context marked by several external challenges such as COVID-19, the Ukraine -Russia War, socio-economic situation and floods.

Mrs. Ekoue however, stated that the Mid-Term Review mission presented an opportunity to identify strategies to scale up the results and the impact of the project building on the conclusions of rigorous analyses of the implementation performance and an assessment of challenges and opportunities in the project and beneficiary’s environment.

She commended the Federal Government and the participating states for their moral and financial support towards the success of the project.

In his remark, the Director Project Coordinating Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Musa Bukar said the Mid-Term review was an excellent platform to look into the journey so far, highlight successes and shortcomings in order to pave way forward towards achieving the overall objective of the project.

He commended the progress made by the project in spite of challenges listed by the Country Director.

“I hope the Mid-Term review will further assess and make recommendations in line with the project design for the phase 2 and phase 1 to overlap, hoping that the phase 2 will commence by next year 2024”, he said.

Mr. Bukar called for a review of the project to provide funding for the three excluded states of Imo, Rivers and Akwa Ibom directly from the IFAD funds.

Writing by Zaccheaus Babalola; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu