Blessing Ibunge in Port Harcourt
In a bid to enhance job creation for the youths and women across the Niger Delta region, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has expressed commitment to supporting the federal government in the digitalisation of agriculture in the region.
To achieve this, the project, Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) funded by the federal government through a loan from IFAD, would be executed by the Ministry of Agriculture in partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
Recognising the need for such innovation for the Niger Delta region, the federal government recently had an exchange visit to the IFAD-assisted Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme – Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods (KCEP-CRAL) Project in Kenya.
During the international exchange programme, attended by other IFAD funded Projects targeted at job creation, the leadership of the FGN/NDDC/IFAD LIFE-ND Project reiterated its commitment to transforming agriculture in the Niger Delta through digitalisation.
The team shared valuable insights on how ICT tools and strategies could be deployed to effectively improve the livelihood of smallholder farmers.
The Nigerian Project, according to the media unit, extensively explained how to boost agric productivity and livelihood by harnessing technology.
The team explained that the innovation would revolutionise farming practices, enhance food security, and improve the socio-economic well-being of local communities in the region.
The IFAD Country Director, Dede Ekoue, during the exchange visit, explained the importance of collaboration and partnerships and the desire of IFAD to use ICT tools for agricultural development.
She acknowledged the strides already made by KCEP-CRAL and the opportunities inherent in supporting the achievement recorded by the LIFE-ND project in the area of ICT for Development.
Also, the Director, Project Coordinating Unit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, Bukar Musa, noted the position of the ICT for Development initiative with the agricultural policy of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
He further stated that ICT for Development was a veritable tool for ensuring food security, job creation and economic growth in an efficient and sustainable manner.
On his part, National Project Coordinator of LIFE-AND Project, Abiodun Sanni emphasised that the project is demonstrating unwavering commitment to digitalising agriculture in the region to herald a promising future for smallholder farmers and communities.
LIFE-ND Project disclosed that recently, across the Niger Delta states it has supported beneficiary farmers to access improved hybrid crops planting materials such as cassava stem cuttings, rice seeds, plantain suckers as well as improved breed of poultry broiler/layer the Clarias Catfish breed for aquaculture production.
The project has so far “injected an approximate gross income value of over N3billion into the national economy thereby contributing to household and national food security improvement. Moreover, these values exclude income expected to be realized from sale of un-marketed produce over N2.19billion losses incurred by over 572 beneficiaries to the 2022 flood.”