Obinna Odogwu, Abakaliki
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has concluded plans to enhance the agricultural production output of farmers in Ebonyi State through its Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) programme.
This was disclosed, in Abakaliki, by the Assistant Director in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s (FMARD), Mrs. Chinyere Ikechukwu-Eneh, during a courtesy call on the state Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Moses Nomeh.
Ikechukwu-Eneh said that the programme was an initiative of the Minister for Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh.
“The programme would be implemented in the three senatorial zones of Ebonyi state with active participation of five registered clusters (cooperative societies) from two council areas of the zones.”
She noted that 20 members from the cooperative societies would be identified and registered in two communities in the councils, in the pilot phase of the programme.
“We assure that more communities from the LGA’s would benefit in the subsequent stages with the programme targeting the empowerment of three million Nigerian women and youths.
The Assistant Director noted that the programme was aimed at promoting community-based on and off farm business activities, designed as a model for job and wealth creation among women and youths in rural and sub-urban households.
“The cluster members will be identified, trained and supported to improve their access to finance, affordable and improved agricultural inputs, sustainable farm practices, agro-processing and packaging.
She noted that registration for the programme is free with women having no age limit but between 15—45 years for men, adding that it was in partnership with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Bank of Industries (BOI).
The Director of the LIFE programme, Ms Keke Bongos-Ikwe noted that the use of local dialects would be used in enlightening the cluster members on its activities to enable them fully understand its messages.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Chief Moses Nomeh, thanked the programme for choosing Ebonyi as one of the states to implement its activities in the South East zone.
“We commend you because your objectives are in tandem with our government’s desire to shift agriculture from subsistence to a business venture with adequate use of mechanization” he said.