ORUK ANAM – The beneficiaries of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) assisted project in Akwa Ibom say the intervention has improved their lives.
Mr Eno Solomon, the Secretary of Asajo Community Piggery Enterprise, made the assertion in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sundya in Ikot Inyang, Oruk Anam Local Government Area.
Eno said this when the IFAD Supervision team visited Ikot Inyang village to the inspect projects being implemented under its Community-based Agricultural and Rural Development Programme.
He said that since the inception of the programme in July 2011, many of their members had been empowered economically and had improved economic well-being of the peolpe generally.
The scribe said the group which started the programme with two pigs could now boost of 40 pigs which could be sold for between N20, 000 and N25, 000 each.
“We have 21 members in this group, apart from the cooperative pigs; each member has at least seven to eight pigs of his own.
“We started this business with an initial capital of about N1.3 million assisted by IFAD programme, but now each of our members can take care of their family through the profit while the business is growing,” he said.
He added that the group also engaged in fishery to increase their income and reduce poverty within the community.
Eno narrated that the two fish ponds the group had at the moment contained about 4,000 fingerlings, adding that 3,000 fishes was harvested in the first cycle.
He said they realised about N2 million from the sales of the fishes in the first cycle and hoped that the second would produced more than the first.
At Nung Ukana in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area of the state, the Nka Ima Processing Group was full of praises for the IFAD assisted programme.
Speaking on behalf of the group, their leader, Mrs Mfon Sunday, disclosed that they had 30 members, comprising 15 women, five men and 10 youths who are benefiting from the programme.
Sunday said that the mill could process about eight drums of grade one oil, and three drums of grade two in a month.
She explained that a drum of grade one oil sold for N50, 000, while grade two for N40, 000 and a bag of palm kernel sold for N4, 500.
She said: “The IFAD programme has added value to our lives. Through this business, we contribute to our family upkeep and send our children to school.
“We have diversified to other businesses like cassava, plantain and pineapple farming all in an efforts to increase our income.”
The head of the team, Dr Oyesola Oyebanji, Consultant, National Programme for Food Security, thanked the groups for hailing the programme.
Oyebanji expressed happiness on the group’s record keeping, adding that it showed they had received some level of training.
He said: “I am impressed with the way they keep their records. You can see when they obtained loan and paid back as and when due to attract more credit facilities.
“They need to have access to more credit facilities to expand their business because their records are clean.
“The oil palm processing group has collected loan and has paid back, this shows that the business is benefiting the rural people”.
NAN reports that the team will continue with the inspection of the IFAD assisted projects in the state to monitor progress. (NAN)