The training of 4,000 indigenes of Cross River in the second batch of the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise – Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project, began in Calabar on Tuesday.
The Federal Government is conducting the training in partnership with the Niger Delta Development Commission, with loan from the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The beneficiaries are unemployed and underemployed indigenes between the ages of 18 years and 30 years.
The project also seeks to empower women who head homes and have children under the age of 15 years in the production, processing and marketing of rice, cassava, fishery and poultry.
Declaring the training open, Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources, Okon Owuna, stated that the project was aimed at transforming the rural economy of the Niger Delta region.
He advised the participants to make use of the opportunities to learn from the trainers.
“I urge you to be of good moral standing and ensure that you pay utmost attention to the lectures as this is a lifetime opportunity to change anyone’s economic status”, he said.
In his remarks, Innocent Ogbin, Project Coordinator IFAD LIFE-ND in Cross River, said participants were drawn from 10 communities in 10 local government areas of the state.
Ogbin said the trainers were selected based on minimum of three years business experience they must have had.
Similarly, the Agribusiness Promotion Coordinator, Anthonia Esenwa, said that the project was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision for national food security, especially in the Niger Delta.
Esenwa said beneficiaries of the project could tap into the industrialisation drive of Gov. Ben Ayade by becoming suppliers of raw materials to factories in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the LIFE-ND project has been implemented in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Rivers, Imo and Abia.