A total of 148 youths from Bayelsa undergoing training programme in agriculture were on Wednesday presented with working capital to start-up their own farm enterprises.
The youths are beneficiaries of Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The working capital which is a revolving loan was presented to the trainee farmers through their master trainers who serve as mentors for the youths.
Dr Paniebi Ugo, State Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND presented the cheques to the master trainers who warehouse and manage the beneficiaries in Yenagoa.
Ugo, said the agriculture mentorship programme for youths which has been ongoing in the state in the past two years is for young people between the ages of 18 to 35.
He explained that the template of the programme is that the trainees are assigned to established farms where they will be trained and mentored.
He explained that the four commodities for Bayelsa are cassava, plantain, fish and poultry.
Ugo advised the trainee farmers to take the project seriously and make a living for themselves.
He explained that the working capital was to enable the young farmers to start up their own farms under the mentorship of their master trainers.
He urged them to make profits and pay back the loan in installments.
“LIFE-ND the IFAD assisted project has as it’s objectives to increase income, guarantee food security and create jobs for youths between the age bracket of 18 – 35yrs.
“Our focus also is on women through agricbusiness using the incubation model in the Niger Delta region.
“This cheque presentation is an epoch making event and a breakthrough for LIFE-ND, IFAD, and Bayelsa State.
“This programe has been going on for about two years and has two phases apprenticeship and mentorship.
“The starter packs called working capital is a minimum of N700,000 per incubatee depending on the commodity.
“The support is given to the incubatees through the incubator who is also the farmer to establish the enterprise for the incubatees.
“I want to charge the incubatees to take the project seriously because it is geared towards improving their livelihood,” he said.
In her remark, Mrs Vivian Yerin, of Veejay Farms, one of the master trainers who received a cheque on behalf of the trainees under her mentorship, commended the LIFE-ND for the initiative.
She called for the sustenance of the projects to give many youths the opportunity to have a means of livelihood.
Yerin, who is a poultry farmer said with the prevailing realities in the Niger Delta, the project has assisted youths in the Niger Delta to survive and cater for their families, adding that it will go a long way in improving their livelihoods.