One-hundred-and-forty eight Bayelsa youths undergoing an agricultural training programme funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have been given loans of a minimum of N700,0000 each in Yenagoa.
The training was packaged by Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise in Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), a Bayelsa government initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports on Thursday that the youths are aged between 18 years and 35 years.
The revolving loan was presented to the trainee farmers through their master trainers who serve as their mentors.
Dr Paniebi Ugo, Project Coordinator of LIFE-ND, presented the cheques to the master trainers who manage the beneficiaries in Yenagoa.
Ugo said in the mentorship programme, which had been on-going in the last two years, trainees were assigned to established farms where they were trained in cassava, plantain, fish and poultry production.
He advised the trainee farmers to take the project seriously and make a living for themselves.
Ugo charged the beneficiaries to go into business, make profits and pay back the loan in instalments so that others could also benefit.
“LIFE-ND assisted by IFAD aims at increasing beneficiaries’ income, guarantee food security and create jobs for youths between the age bracket of 18years and 35years.
“Our focus also is on women through agriculture business 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 programme has two phases – apprenticeship and mentorship,’’ he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Vivian Yerin, one of the master trainers who received a cheque on behalf of the trainees in her mentorship, commended the LIFE-ND for the initiative.
She called for the sustenance of the project to give many youths the opportunity to have means of livelihood.
Yerin, a poultry farmer, said that with the prevailing realities in the Niger Delta, the project had assisted youths to survive and cater to their families.
She added that it would go a long way in improving beneficiaries’ livelihoods. (NAN)