Abia State has joined eight other Niger Delta states scheduled to benefit from the Federal Government Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises programme (Life- ND).
The programme, which was borne out of the recognition of the need to diversify the export earnings of government and alter its economic strategy, is anchored on Vision 2020 that emphasizes a diversified private sector-led economy, agricultural growth and employment generation.
Speaking in Umuahia during the inauguration of the Abia State 15-man Steering Committee, chaired by the Agriculture Commissioner, Prof. Ikechi Mgbeoji, he assured of its success.
The Life-ND National Liaison Officer Dr. Chinwe Onyegbula, said the overall goal is to realize a transformed rural economy in which the rural population can derive prosperity and equal benefit.
She explained that the onus lies on the Committee, “to provide oversight functions, approve annual Work Plan and Budget as well as facilitate the effective participation of relevant state actors in the project.
The State Coordinator, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, said the first phase of the programme covers 10 of the 17 local council and 10 communities per area based on defined criteria.
This implies that it is currently being implemented in 100 communities based on the criteria set by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
According to Onyeizu, Life-ND’s primary target group is the unemployed and under-employed youths aged 18-35 years as well as women-headed households with children under the age of 15 years to engage in the production, processing and marketing of the selected commodities in their communities.
He listed the priority agricultural commodities in the region as cassava, plantain, fish, Cocoa, oil palm and poultry, featuring prominently in some states.
THE GUARDIAN NG