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CRSG Flags-off Distribution Of Agricultural Inputs To Ifad LIFE-ND Project Incubatees

Cross River State Government in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria, Niger Delta Development Commission, International Fund for Agricultural Development and Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises for Niger Delta (IFAD LIFE -ND) has distributed agricultural start-up inputs to the 4th batch of Incubatees of the State IFAD LIFE-ND Project.

The Incubatees, mainly Cross River youths and women, were trained across nine enterprise interest areas in line with the project's objectives of enhancing income, food security and job creation for rural youths and women through sustainable agribusiness initiatives.

Flagging off the distribution to the graduate Incubatees in a ceremony held at the Cross River Agricultural Development Programme (ADP)premises, Calabar, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Irrigation Development, Hon. Johnson Andiambey Ebokpo reaffirmed the passion and commitment of the Governor, Senator Bassey Otu for the wellbeing of Cross Riverians, adding that the Governor is embarking on an aggressive agricultural drive to ensure that the sector becomes the main stay of the State's economy.

The Commissioner expressed delight over the sight of vibrant youths and women participating in agricultural programmes and commended the Project for incorporating information technology as this puts the program on par with global aggrotech sector.

He challenged the Incubatees to become self-reliant by leveraging on opportunities at their disposal, with the admonition to "grow your food, eat your food, process it, add value and make money."

The Commissioner also expressed hope that the beneficiaries would become agro champions that will transform their local communities and contribute to the growth and development of the State.

In his goodwill message, the Commissioner for Livestock, Aquaculture and Fisheries Development, Ntufam Emmanuel Anom, lauded the project for being consistent with its objectives and the Incubators for carefully mentoring the Incubatees in their various areas of interests.

Ntufam Anom charged those benefitting from the project to maximize the training and better their lives, communities, state, and nation at large.

On his part the National Project Coordinator, Engr. Sanni Abiodun represented by the Rural Institutions, Gender and Youth Coordinator, Dr. Clement Uwem, maintained that it was heart-warming to witness another set of Cross Riverians being empowered as agribusiness operators across various value chains. He implored the State Government for more support while warning the beneficiaries against misuse of the opportunity they have been provided with.

Earlier in his welcome address, the State Project Coordinator, Mr. Innocent Ogbin stated that a total number of 1000 youths and women from 10 Local Government Areas of the State formed the 4th batch of Incubatees that have been trained and mentored on production, processing, and marketing of agricultural produce along the value chains of the project's intervention areas.

Areas of training included: Cassava Production, Cassava stem multiplication, rice seed multiplication, poultry value chain, fingerlings, and table size fish production.

In separate interviews, two of the Incubatees, Wofai Ofem Ibor and Mary Innocent expressed appreciation to the Government and the Project for envisioning an impactful agricultural programme that has equipped them with the knowledge, skills, and tools to be productive in the society.

They pledged to make judicious use of the opportunity to better their lives and create jobs for other youths of the State.

At the flag-off ceremony in Calabar, 100 Incubatees were empowered with various packs for commencement of agribusinesses in their chosen areas of interest. Items distributed were: defeathering machines, smoking kilns, power tillers, motorized sprayers, and laptops. Others include wheelbarrows, cassava grinding machines, barbeque equipment plus showcase, manual agrochemical sprayers and bags of fertilizer (NPK).

The flag off ceremony was well attended by representatives from line MDAs, management Staff from the Agriculture and Irrigation Development ministry, Ministry of Livestock Aquaculture and Fisheries Development as well as key Stakeholders in the Agricultural Sector.

By Ebi Collins, The Beagle News