Port Harcourt — The new Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, says the commission is committed to transforming the rural economy of the region and improving the livelihood of the citizens.
Pondei at the project facilitation training of the $129.17 million Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises Programme in the Niger Delta, said the Commission was committed to its partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He said said that LIFE-ND was planned with a financing gap of six years, adding that it had both a first phase of six years, with parallel finance from NDDC to the tune of $30million and an additional six years to be financed in the future by other partners and additional IFAD loan.
According to the Acting Managing Director, NDDC would at all times support activities that benefit the citizens of the region, noting that the goal of the LIFE-ND project was to transform the rural economy in the Niger Delta.
“The project directly supports the Federal Government’s agricultural policy and the Strategic Framework for youth employment and job creation. This strategic framework addresses the large and growing number of restless unemployed youths, especially in rural areas. It seeks inclusion of young people in profitable agribusiness.
“LIFE-ND is designed to be implemented in the nine Niger Delta states, commencing with 10 local government areas and 10 communities per LGA, with option of expansion over time.
“The FGN/NDDC/IFAD partnership is a novel one designed to improve the living standards of the rural populace. This in turn is expected to reduce rural-urban migration and criminal activities.”
Prof Pondei who was represented by the NDDC Director Agriculture and Fisheries, Mr George Ero, reiterated the commitment of the Commission to continuously partner with development organisations like the IFAD in bringing the best to the people of the Niger Delta region.
In his address, the National Project Coordinator for LIFE-ND programme, Engr. Sanni Fatai, emphasized that the project would enhance the income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women through agricultural enterprise development on a sustainable basis in the Niger Delta.
Fatai said that the project implementation training was a significant step towards attaining the goals of the LIFE-ND project, stating that the main target were the newly recruited staff at both the national and state coordinating offices.
In her remarks, the IFAD Country Representative, Ms Nadine Gbossa, explained that the LIFE-ND programme would give additional opportunities to the youths and women in the Niger Delta region.
She said that IFAD was very keen to see the success of the programme, noting that the UN agency would give priority to it and collaborate with the other funding partners to ensure its success.