By Fatima Muraina
The International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, under its Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises- Niger Delta LIFE-ND project is to disburse N152million and targets 1,000 incubatees for year 2022 as the Ondo state government reiterates commitment on project implementation.
This was made known during the meeting of the state steering committee on LIFE-ND held at the weekend in Akure, the Ondo state capital.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry who is the Chairman of the committee, Mr Olayato Aribo said the state has demonstrated a clear focus on poverty alleviation and favourable political will to support a joint programme with IFAD.
He appreciated the Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, for his support in providing a conducive environment for the project implementation and payment of counterparts fund which he said contributed to the successes recorded.
He said the state will work on rural roads and with the Ondo State Agricultural Commodities Association, OSACA, to ensure working with real farmers for proper management of the people, adding that a synergy would be created for all stakeholders.
The IFAD state project Coordinator, Mr Olawale Ademola while briefing the committee on the progress made so far said: ” So we have about N152 million now in the kitty of the incubators to be disbursed to incubatees and we are expecting Governor Akeredolu to witness the disbursement of the fund”.
According to the state project coordinator, 260 incubatees are being empowered across the 50 incubation centers to cover the activities for 2021 and projecting for 1,000 incubatees for year 2022.
Ademola who explained that the first set of disbursement was over N90million and another N61million including a million naira to the incubatees, said the N152million to be disbursed is for the 3rd and 4th batches for N50million and N102million respectively.
While noting that the governor gave the enabling environment in ensuring adequate security, he appealed for the prompt payment of counterparts fund for year 2021 as done in 2020 which he said assisted the project.
The Senior Special Adviser to the Governor on Agric and Agric Business, Pastor Akin Olotu, in his remarks, emphasized on sustainability, advising that funds be channeled towards addressing major agricultural problems.
He charged them to address the major rural roads and light energy which could be addressed through solar panel, saying that 20 percent of the budget could furnish such projects.
According to him, projects would not be profitable without putting in place necessary structures for the incubators and incubatees to be able to sustain their projects.
He also appealed for the need to cross-fertilize ideas of both implemented and yet to be implemented projects to avoid overlapping of them.
Olotu who expressed the importance of engaging the rural farmers, said OSACA should also be carried along in the choice of incubators and incubatees.
The state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Dr.Juliana Adebunmi Osundahunsi described sustainability as being paramount towards ensuring that they get to the needed communities.
She applauded IFAD for considering having what she called a robust accommodation for women as she declared women as good managers when talking about farming population in Agriculture.
Present at the meeting were the Director General of PPIMU, Mr Babajide Akeredolu, state commissioners, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Mr Sunday Akintomide representatives of FMARD, representatives of the NDDC among many others.