The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has inaugurated a 13-man Steering Committee for the implementation of Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE-ND) project, valued at over 90 million dollars in some states of the federation.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, while inaugurating the committee on Monday in Abuja, said the project was aimed at developing some agricultural commodities in nine states in the Niger Delta.
He said the commodities are cassava, plantain, rice, fish, cocoa, oil palm and poultry, adding that they had the potential to contribute immensely to annual agricultural productivity, food security and value chains development.
The minister pointed out that the nine benefiting states are Cross River, Rivers, Edo, Bayelsa, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Abia, and Delta.
According to him, the project will be implemented within a six year implementation period and another six years financing gaps, making a total of 12 years project cycle.
“The organisational framework of LIFE-ND project has four levels: Federal, Regional, State and Local Government.
“Today we are inaugurating the National Steering Committee to be chaired by the Minister and Permanent Secretary and composed of representatives from relevant departments and agencies.
“The national steering committee is expected to meet once in a year and its strategic role is to provide oversight functions in the implementation of LIFE-ND and also approve the Annual Work Plan and Budget.
“Under the implementation of LIFE-ND project, the federal government has identified priority value chains for the Niger Delta region,” he said.
Nanono said government’s plan to replicate the project in the remaining five geo-political zones of the country had reached an advanced stage.
He called for transparency and accountability in the implementation of the project.
The Director Project Coordinating Department in the ministry of agriculture, Maimuna Habiba, said the steering committee would ensure prudent use of funds for the project.
“This National Steering Committee is to ensure that there is prudent use of fund within the project life so that people do not spend the fund the way they like.
“This project is from IFAD and it is worth 60 million dollars for six states, funded by IFAD and the remaining three states get 30 million dollars, funded by NDDC”
“The entire project’s are supposed to create jobs, improve agricultural production, creation of value chain, and we link them to market. We have 10 projects under the Project Coordinating Department,” she said.