NDDC Lauds Gains of IFAD Programme, Pledges More Support
The Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, has commended the International Fund for Agricultural Development, IFAD, for its successful Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme (CBNRMP) that has helped to create wealth and transform the Niger Delta region. The NDDC Managing Director, Sir (Barr) Bassey Dan- Abia, commended the officials of IFAD at a meeting with the management of the NDDC at its headquarters in Port Harcourt and pledged the continued support of the commission to the United Nation’s agency.
Barr. Dan-Abia noted that apart from providing physical infrastructure, the NDDC also had a mandate to initiate programmes that would address poverty alleviation and youth empowerment. He said focusing on rural communities, IFAD had succeeded in elevating the agricultural process and making it more attractive to the youths. He, therefore, assured that the NDDC would continue to partner with IFAD to ensure that the gains of the programme were sustained.
The NDDC Chief Executive Officer said that although the commission was having funding challenges, NDDC would continue to do all that was necessary to sustain the successes recorded by the IFAD programme which started in 2006. The way forward, he said, would be to revitalize the Partners for Sustainable Development, PSD Forum, as a platform for engaging the key stakeholders, including the State governments and the Oil Companies, to join hands in keeping the programme alive.
Dr. Oyesola Oyebanji, a representative of the Rural Development Department of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, stated that human capital development was a very important component which should complement the building of infrastructure in the Niger Delta. He, therefore, urged the NDDC not to relent in giving financial backing to the IFAD programme in the region.
He said that many of the young farmers who have benefitted from the projects were at a stage where their agricultural activities had blossomed into viable and sustainable agro-businesses, adding that a very critical step in this direction was the adoption and effective use of business practices in small-holder productions.
The Country Director of IFAD, Lady Atsuko Toda, said that the NDDC had been a faithful partner in the programme meant to empower at least 400,000 households in the rural communities through Agriculture. She said the programme recorded huge successes in the various states as agricultural investments ranging from crop farming to animal husbandry were done using best improved varieties and global practices. “At this point, sustainability is very important. We are counting on the NDDC to give us the necessary support to build a new project,” she said.
Giving a brief on CBNRMP’s 17th Supervision Mission, Dr Ben Odoemena , the IFAD Country Programme Officer, said that the purpose of the supervision mission was to assess the programme implementation, review the progress made so far and work out an exit strategy. He said: “The programme is unique in the sense that it is the only donor-assisted programme funded by two major financiers – IFAD and NDDC, with each contributing $15 million.”
Dr. Odoemena explained that the IFAD programme had broadened the economic horizon of budding entrepreneurs and had set
the stage for the emergence of a sustainable system that would engage about 3,000 youths in enterprise-based jobs. To sustain this effort, he appealed to the NDDC to create a special project unit that would interface with IFAD for the benefit of the people in the rural communities.