Beneficiaries of the Federal Government Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises, Niger Delta (LIFE-ND) project, on Saturday showcased their farm produce for sale at the Edo Alaghodaro food fair in Benin.
The LIFE-ND is being funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), in collaboration with the Federal government and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The farmers, who came from different local government areas of Edo, brought food items cultivated after a series of training they acquired from LIFE-ND project.
NAN also reports that food items at the fair were sold at subsidized rates in line with the state government directives.
Food items sold by the LIFE-ND farmers included Garri, rice, fresh catfish, poultry birds, processed catfish, cassava and cassava flour.
The farmers, mainly youths, women and physically-challenged persons, said they were grateful that there was a ready market for their produce.
Speaking to newsmen, Mrs Grace Nwaozuzu, a physically-challenged woman and a poultry farmer, said the food fair was a great platform to show how much government agricultural policies have impacted the lives of the people.
According to Nwaozuzu, “I have sold all the poultry birds I brought here at subsidized rates and am happy that I made some money.”
Mr Sunny Odeh, a fish farmer who also thanked members of the Alaghodaro board for the initiative, said having a ready market alone was an empowerment.
Odeh, however, called on the organizers of the event to hold the food fair regularly.
The State Project Coordinator, John Omoruyi, said the project was being operated in the nine Niger Delta states adding that the project was promoting four commodities of poultry, rice, cassava and fish in Edo.
He noted that the federal government and the IFAD, through LIFE-ND, invested heavily in agriculture, saying that a ready market like the Edo food fair would encourage more people to go into farming.
According to him, “the food fair provides a ready market where the farmers sell directly to the consumers without middlemen. All the four commodities of LIFE-ND are on display for sale here today.
“The food fair is a good initiative by the Alaghodaro team to promote food security in every home in the state
“The LIFE-ND project is targeted at youths, women, physically-challenged people and households headed by women aged between 18 and 35 years.
“Our area of scope is in 10 local governments and 10 communities in each local government area, bringing the number to 100 communities across Edo
“The model of the project is the apprenticeship model where we have the incubator and the incubates who are to be trained by the incubators.
“During the training, the incubates are given monthly stipends for the training period and are also given seed capital when they graduate.”
According to him, “as we speak, the project has graduated about 2,250 incubates and they have been given seed capital to set up their own farms.