Abia State Life Improvement Family Enterprises for the Niger Delta (LIFE-ND), an International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) facilitated project, is being challenged by refusal of communities to donate land for its implementation.
The programme is to facilitate cassava and rice production, poultry farming and oil palm processing. The state coordinator of the programme, Dr Uchenna Onyeizu, explained The Guardian that the implementation of the programne was challenged because 4,000 hectares of land were needed for the project, but were not released by the communities.
He said out of about 4,000 hectares of land required to implement the programme in the targeted 100 communities, fewer than 100 hectares were made available.
According to the state coordinator, the hectares made available were by the state government because the communities hinged their hesitance to donate their land on the previous acquisitions when the land they donated for other projects was not effectively used or there were no compensations.
However, the state coordinator stressed that there was no provision for direct land acquisition in the IFAD Life-ND project, hence selected communities were expected to donate land.
Onyeizu said 50 communities had been selected, while another 50 would follow in April as the participants who would operate on the provided infrastructures had been trained.
The facilities being developed by the contractors for which contracts were awarded are provision of access roads to farms, land development and building of poultry farms.
Addressing the contractors, the Life-ND Rural Infrastructure Coordinator, Anthony Moluno, tasked them to execute the contracts in accordance with the guidelines/ specifications in such a way that would make the environment better.
The State Rural Infrastructure Officer, Chukwumaobi Otutubuike, who said that care must be taken to avoid using heavy equipment that would destroy the top soil and the nutrients, urged for selective tree-felling and making provision for small fruits and vegetables planting by the communities, especially women.