In a significant move to boost job creation for youths and women in the Niger Delta region, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has reaffirmed its dedication to back the federal government’s efforts in the digital transformation of agriculture.
This initiative will be realized through the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project. Funded via a loan from IFAD and supervised by the Ministry of Agriculture in collaboration with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the project holds substantial promise for the region.
To better understand and implement the digital transformation of agriculture, a delegation from the federal government participated in an exchange program with the IFAD-backed Kenya Cereal Enhancement Programme – Climate Resilient Agricultural Livelihoods (KCEP-CRAL) Project in Kenya. This visit showcased the capabilities of ICT tools and strategies in enhancing the lives of smallholder farmers. Insights from this exchange will be instrumental in the Nigerian project’s goal of improving agricultural efficiency, food security, and the socio-economic fabric of local Niger Delta communities through technological advancements.
The IFAD Country Director, Dede Ekoue, lauded the achievements made by KCEP-CRAL during the exchange and expressed the organization’s intent to utilize ICT tools for agricultural growth. Emphasizing the project’s alignment with the Federal Government of Nigeria’s agricultural policy, Bukar Musa, Director, Project Coordinating Unit of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, recognized the indispensable role of ICT in fostering food security, job opportunities, and sustainable economic growth.
Abiodun Sanni, the National Project Coordinator of LIFE-AND, asserted the project’s unwavering commitment to revolutionizing agriculture, forecasting a bright horizon for smallholder farmers in the region.
In recent times, the LIFE-ND project has made tangible strides. It has extended support to farmers in the Niger Delta, offering them access to improved hybrid crops and livestock breeds. With its efforts, the project has introduced an estimated gross income value of over 3 Billion into the national economy, excluding potential revenue from yet-to-be-sold produce, despite the challenges posed by natural calamities like the 2022 flood.
With international collaboration and dedicated local efforts, the future of agriculture in the Niger Delta appears poised for a technological renaissance, benefiting farmers, the economy, and the nation at large.