The Abia State Project Coordinating Office of the Lifelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) has commenced selection of another set of beneficiaries for its agribusiness project.
The project’s National Administrative Officer, Mrs. Ngozi Ohaechezi, who coordinated the exercise, told newsmen in Umuahia on Wednesday that the project is expected to bring on board at least 1000 potential beneficiaries.
She said that the beneficiaries, who are otherwise known as “the incubates” are the fourth set to be recruited.
Ohaechezi said that the beneficiaries comprised youths aged between 18 and 35 years and women-headed households with children under the age of 15, who are interested in agribusiness.
She said that persons living with disabilities were also eligible for the project.
She said that the beneficiaries were being selected from 100 communities in 10 local government areas of the state that the project is operating.
According to her, 10 persons are being selected from each of the communities.
She said that the project received over 3,000 applications, including those of online, stressing that only 1,000 would be engaged after the screening.
“We have five teams in all the 100 communities and the 10 council areas who are supervising the exercise, but the community leaders themselves are actively involved in the screening process.
“We are trying to re-strategise and use a new approach to make sure that people are given the opportunity in our recruitment process, which is based on merit,” she said.
The State Project Coordinator, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, said the beneficiaries would be engaged in the four agro- commodities, including cassava, rice, poultry and oil palm, which the project is working on.
He said that the project had been able to engage about 1,500 beneficiaries at different stages in different agribusinesses, since its inception about three years ago.
Onyeizu said: “The project targets to engage 4,250 beneficiaries for its six-year lifespan.
“By the time we bring in the 1000, thereby getting about 2500 beneficiaries, we would have surpassed our mid-term target, which is a few months from now.
“The essence of the agribusiness is to ensure that the livelihood of the households improves significantly.”
Mr. ThankGod Nwahunnia, the Councillor for Ogwe in Ukwa West Local Area, expressed delight over the selection process in his ward.
He commended the Federal Government, LIFE-ND as well as other stakeholders for embarking on such an empowerment in his ward and local government area.
Miss Glory Ifeanyichukwu, who screened at the Umuahia centre, expressed happiness for the opportunity.
“I have been waiting for this life-time opportunity to be selected because I have friends who have benefitted immensely in LIFE-ND project and they are doing very well in their different agro-enterprises,” she said.
LIFE-ND is being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
It is in collaboration with the Federal Government and Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as well as the state government.
The project, which is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for national food security, is for implementation in the nine Niger Delta states but currently operating in six of them.