Need for Holistitc Approach to N-Delta Development, Posted to the Web on Vaguard, September 11, 2006.
A focus group participant said: “The economy is largely agrarian and as such, farming and trade in farm produce constitute the main sources of livelihoods. But the youths who mostly prefer urban life seldom participate in such jobs which they term as ‘menial’.”
People need opportunities to acquire skills and develop capacities that lead to productive and sustainable livelihoods. Some occupations, like traditional agricultural activities, need to be improved to attract youths.
The partnership in the Niger-Delta between UNDP and Shell is currently assessing vocational institutions in some states, with a view towards defining the existing gaps in capacity, sparking greater demand for these institutions and enhancing their performance.
The income from oil industry activities, including temporary construction work or short-term contracts, as well as from compensation for oil spills and the ‘conflict economy’, vastly exceed the sums earned in traditional occupations. To enhance agricultural productivity and improve other enterprises and to encourage fuller participation in suitable activities, improved technology is needed. As the study for this report found, the residents of the Niger-Delta are mostly peasant farmers without any help from the government or financial institutions.
They contend that they need things like tractors, harvesters and machines for palm oil production. Manual production, according to the focus group participants, is hard and tedious and wastes time. Appropriate equipment would make it easier to produce enough to sustain people and alleviate poverty.
One focus group participant said:
“We also need financial assistance to help us set up companies like palm kernel oil factories, garri, yam processing companies and rice mill factories. We produce rice too. These are the things we need in order to make life worth living in the area.”
(Read the rest of this long article on Vaguard).