The Federal Government of Nigeria is on the verge of improving the livelihoods of rural dwellers through its Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) scheme, an initiative of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Through this initiative, community based on-farm and off-farm business activities will be promoted among women and youth in rural and semi urban households, a development that will generate more employment and wealth creation.

Presently, an advocacy/ needs assessment visit is being undertaken to 25 states of the federation including the FCT to enlighten project communities and engage in the collection of data from prospective states before commencement of programme activities.

Registration of cooperative groups will be a key activity during the advocacy visit. The participating states are Niger, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and the FCT (North Central), Kano, Kebbi, Kaduna and Katsina (North West), Gombe, Bauchi, Taraba and Borno (North East), Lagos, Ogun, Ondo and Oyo (South West).

For the South-South, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom while for the South East, Enugu, Ebonyi, Anambra and Imo will be the beneficiaries.

According to the Coordinator of the programme, Ms. Keke Bongos Ikwe, the LIFE programme will be implemented at ward levels across the country through clusters or groups of cooperatives that will be trained and supported to improve their access to finance, affordable and improved agricultural inputs, sustainable farm practices, agro processing and packaging. Beneficiaries will also have opportunities to venture into agribusiness for sustained income generation and livelihood opportunities.

The need assessment tour will be carried out for two weeks by a combined team of technical staff from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, state ministries of agriculture and programme partners such as International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), Synergos and the Bank of Agriculture (BOA). The mission will last for two weeks from the 14th to 28th January, 2018.

Nigerian Tribune