3M Women, Youths To Benefit From New FG Agricultural Scheme
Three million women and youths across the country are set to benefit from an Agro-business programme of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) scheme of the Federal Government. This was disclosed by the Assistant Director, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Chinyere Ikechukwu-Eneh, on Tuesday in Enugu.
The official who was on advocacy visit to the Enugu State Ministry of Agriculture, revealed that the beneficiaries of the programme would be between 18 and 40 years respectively and that 24 states would be captured under the pilot phase of the programme.
She said, “The overall objective of this programme is to contribute to the attainment of food security and economic growth of Nigeria through job creation, value addition and business enterprises and improved livelihood.”
“Beneficiaries shall consist largely of young people selected across several agriculture disciplines in a gender-balanced manner with a minimum of 50 per cent women.”
The Assistant Director also disclosed that about 1, 200 farmers would also be empowered in the state under the programme.
Ikechukwu-Eneh, who is also the Team Leader for the LIFE scheme in Enugu, stated that the programme would also be implemented at the ward level too through the establishment of ‘LIFE clusters’.
She explained that these clusters would receive agricultural inputs for sustainable production, agro-processing and packaging facilities and a marketing system designed to connect rural food surplus to urban cities.
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The official also added that two communities from two local government areas in each of the three senatorial districts would benefit from the programme. The selected communities would then form five cooperative societies that would be empowered in their chosen areas of enterprise.
Ikechukwu-Eneh, therefore, pleaded with the people of the state to ensure that they make good use of the programme to develop their capacities.
“This programme will address the needs of existing cooperative groups that will be encouraged to own enterprises that will help their communities.”
“The minister has also requested that the states identify available rivers, streams and dams for utilisation going forward,” Ikechukwu-Eneh added.
In response, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mr Samuel Onyiaji, described the programme as bold, and advised that prospective beneficiaries of the programme be given consistent and adequate information.
“There are other intervention schemes running in the state and our farmers will like to compare notes. They should have all the information with no hidden agenda in order to make good decisions,” he said.
The LIFE team will be in Enugu for four days inspecting communities, facilities and also sensitising the groups for the programme.