About N665.7million has been disbursed in grants to empower 52,000 rural household farmers in Cross River communities from 2007 till date by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The agency made this disclosure last week through the Cross River state Coordinator Mr Innocent Ogbin in an interview with the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) in Calabar.
According to Ogbin, IFAD trained the beneficiaries on entrepreneurship, livestock, fishery, piggery, crop production as well as vegetable and pineapple production and the grant was for various agricultural businesses that would make them self-reliant under its Community-Based Natural Resource Management Programme in the Niger Delta (CBNRMP-ND).
In his words, â€œAs you can see from the projects inspected so far, you will understand that this money has been judiciously used by the beneficiaries.
â€œOur projects are spread across 27 communities in 16 local government areas, out of the 18 in the state; Boki and Akamkpa local government were not captured.
â€œThis programme effectively commenced in the state in 2007 and since then, we have trained and disbursed N665.7million to over 52,000 households and most of them are now employers of labour,â€™ he said.
NAN also reports that IFAD National Coordinator, Mrs Irene Jumbo said that the agencyâ€™s CBNRMP-ND had taken many rural dwellers out of poverty and turned them into employers of labour.
According to her, the programme which has a mandate to reach out to 400, 000 households in the Niger Delta region, has recorded more than 75 per cent success.
She encouraged youths to embrace farming, adding that agriculture was too productive and self sustaining to be ignored by the youths.
â€œBeneficiaries of IFAD in Cross River have done marvelously well.
â€œSome of them are now benefiting from the sales of their produce while others have expanded their businesses and employing others,â€™â€™ she said. (NAN)