The Youth Collaborative Community Agriculture Programme (YOCCAP) of the Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) Nigeria, received a support from the Government of United States through the U.S. Ambassador’s Self Help Project for a community empowerment scheme in Umoda-Oju Community of Benue State.

Signing the Grant award documents on Friday, 31st May 2013 with the United State of America’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Amb. Terrence P. McCulley, the Initiator and National Coordinator of YISA, Comrade Ogirinye Innocent Adoga, explained that the grant is a major boost to the Organization’s commitment towards ensuring that unemployed community youths and women are given life inherent in socio-economic independence.

The Grant will be used to set-up a Community Agricultural Skills Acquisition Center to be managed by the organization.

”Specifically we are setting up a Fish demonstration Farm, designed to train Thirty-Five (35) unemployed Youths and Fifteen (15) Rural women in Fish production and Best practice Fish smoking and Packaging. The Fifty (50) first Stage beneficiaries will be adequately trained and empowered to start their own fish farm.

“Though the grant is more like a seed capital but we shall leverage on it to do what is right to ensure that the project is expanded; it’s a seed YISA will plant and will also ensure that it is properly watered to produce branches and multiple fruits. The Fish Project is just one component out of the Nine (9) components of the YOCCAP.” Were the declarations of the YISA National Coordinator.

He further went on, “The trainees will be formed into YISA Youth Fish Farmers Cooperative and the Cooperative tool shall be explored using every possible avenue to ensure that the trainees are properly empowered. We understand the passion and commitment of Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to turn around agriculture in Nigeria through the President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan’s Transformation Agenda which has special packages for Youths and women especially the rural dwellers with little or no access to job opportunities to earn a livelihood.

“This is our own way of contributing to the Transformation Agenda and we believe strongly that the short comings of the project will be augmented at the appropriate time in our effort to empower our peers (Youth) and Women.”

The National Coordinator has earlier trained five (5) Youths on Poultry farming using his small-scale Poultry Farm (MagPaty Farms) located in the Community.

The YOCCAP of the organization is designed to address the problem of Youth’s lack of interest in Agriculture; access to land and other farm inputs; start-up capital and the appropriate skills required for Sustainable Agricultural practices. The Collaborative Farming will ensure that all production costs are shared and economics of scale is taken advantage of towards ensuring profitable Agro-enterprise for all YOCCAP beneficiaries.

The Ministry of Agriculture under Dr. Adesina is treating Agriculture as a business and has developed programmes to sustain the initiative. However, he urged the Government to do more in the area of information dissemination / awareness programme to enable young people and existing farmers know more about Government programs and ensure their inclusion in order to enhance Agricultural productivity.

YISA has over 400 Agriculturists as members registered along our Farming Cluster Project and most of them from the Agricultural Extension background if further capacitated will render effective private sector driven extension services to farmers which is what our FACOMAP is designed to address.