In Yenagoa, 138 Bayelsa youths enrolled in an agricultural training program funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been given loans of at least N700,000 each.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), the youths range in age from 18 to 35 years.
The trainee farmers received the revolving loan from their master trainers, who also serve as mentors.
The cheques were presented to the master trainers who manage the beneficiaries in Yenagoa by Dr. Paniebi Ugo, Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND.
Ugo explained that trainees were assigned to established farms where they were trained in cassava, plantain, fish, and poultry production during the mentorship program, which had been running for the past two years.
He advised the trainee farmers to take the project seriously and work hard to make a living.
Ugo challenged the beneficiaries to start businesses, make profits, and repay the loan in installments so that others could benefit as well.
“LIFE-ND, with the assistance of IFAD, aims to increase beneficiaries’ income, ensure food security, and create jobs for youth aged 18 to 35.”
“In the Niger Delta region, we are also focusing on women through agriculture businesses using the incubation model.”
“This cheque presentation is a watershed moment for LIFE-ND, IFAD, and Bayelsa State.”
“This program is divided into two phases: apprenticeship and mentorship,” he explained.
Mrs Vivian Yerin, one of the master trainers who received a check on behalf of the trainees in her mentorship, praised the LIFE-ND initiative in her remarks.
She called for the sustenance of the project to give many youths the opportunity to have means of livelihood.
Yerin, a poultry farmer, said that with the prevailing realities in the Niger Delta, the project had assisted youths to survive and cater to their families.
She added that it would go a long way in improving beneficiaries’ livelihoods. (NAN)