The Youth Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (YISA) in their usual style of empowering rural youths and women has trained 100 rural youths and Women in Fish value chain in Umoda-Oju community of Benue State using the Rural Farm School Centre of the organization located in the community.
The training which was captioned: MAKING AGRICULTURE WORKS FOR RURAL YOUTHS AND WOMEN AS BUSINESS is truly set to contribute their quota in reviving rural economy. The training module was particularly focused on Fish Breeding and Modern Processing.
In a statement by the Founder and National Coordinator of YISA, Comr. Ogirinye Innocent, he stated that, what we (YISA) have done is in pursuance of the vision of the organization to create a pool of active players for Sustainable Agriculture, we have trained 78 rural youths and 22 women on fish production and best practiced fish smoking respectively. He further explained that in making agriculture to truly works as Business, we should extend our focus beyond production ” it will be a hallmark of primitive ecosystem to produce for production case, in Agriculture the first answer every agro-entrepreneur should seek in venturing into Agriculture is can I sell what I want to produce?. And in addressing this we decided to train 78 youths both male and female on fish production from fingerling hatchery to table size and the 22 women to start from where the youths will stop by smoking and packaging the fish for market. YISA is equally partnering with Magpaty Foods and Agri-Projects Limited in the off-take and marketing of the fish, so it is a start to end project we are doing using the YISA Rural Farm School (YISA-RUFS) Model under the Youth Collaborative Community Agriculture Programme (YOCCAP) of the organization.
The Farm school was started 2 years ago with a seed capital of N1.5Million from United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the United States Ambassador’s Self Help Project(SSH) and also with tremendous support from the immediate past Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development(FMARD) Dr. Akinwumi Adesina (OON) through the Gender and Youth Desk. FMARD has remained a greater boaster of the centre. The centre also gives portable water to the community too through our borehole. We maximize our projects for community advancement.
On the plan for the Youths and Women Trainees, the Deputy National Coordinator of YISA and Director of the YISA Rural Farm School Project Comr. Onyeaka Kelechi explained that ” the YISA Rural Farm School Model of the organization is particularly designed to address two key challenges facing most young people in venturing into Agriculture: i.e Lack of appropriate skills for successful Agribusiness and lack of start-up capital. Most youths have the interest in Agriculture but lack the knowledge of how best to do it and eventually got more frustrated by lack of start up capital, YISA RUFs addresses these key challenges by making the farm a school to acquire practical farming skills ‘i.e learning it by doing it and we use the proceed from the sales of the farm produce as equity fund to empower the trainees to set up their own enterprise. All the YISA -RUFS trainees are formed into YISA Farmers Cooperative and we are committed to exploring every legally possible avenue to get them empowered. YISA is also calling other individuals and relevant organizations to come our aid to deepen the empowerment scheme.
The YISA Rural Farm School Model is already gaining momentum and we hope to receive more support to establish the farm school in all the 36 States. We have partnered with International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) to Set up Bee farm(Honey Production) in Abia State where 15 graduates of Agriculture are presently benefiting, it is also a value chain approach from Production to Processing and packaging, the YISA Tropical Blossom Honey is already in the market. YISA has also partnered with Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), the Federal Ministry of Water Resources through the River Basin Development Authority to establish YISA Youth Wheat Farm School in Kano, Jigawa and Bauchi State where 90 Graduates of Agriculture has produced foundation seed on a pilot programme.
“We are not doing this because we have the monetary resources, but truly the time for hand-outs has passed and investment by the youths in their future signals the sustainable means of job creations. If we cannot continue to wait for Government to create all the jobs we need, we cant continue to remain on the street of jobless as graduates of Agriculture in a country with food import bill of over 1.3 Trillion Naira, we will never ever give up on the dream to lift our peers out of the street of joblessness no matter the challenges” were the closing declaration of Comr. Ogirinye Innocent , the YISA Founder and National Coordinator.