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'Empower youth in agriculture to create employment'

By Noah Jagwe

Added 12th March 2017 05:49 PM

FAO is working with the Ugandan agriculture ministry to develop a policy for youth to be involved in agricultural value chain.

It requires the government to help the youth have access to finance, teach entrepreneurship skills and promote ICT in agriculture to create jobs for the increasing unemployed youths in the agricultural sector as the country's biggest employer.

These were the remarks of country representative of Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Alhaji Muhamad Jallow.

FAO is working with the Ugandan agriculture ministry to develop a policy for youth to be involved in agricultural value chain. And this support to youth is based on FAO’s global strategic program of work on rural poverty reduction.

Jallow noted that 79% of youth live in rural areas where poverty is relatively high and agriculture is the major economic activity.

"A higher labour force growth rate than total employment implies that there is an accumulation of unemployment overtime," he added.

The policy for youth in agriculture enables promotion of youth enterprises and entrepreneurship skills as well as mitigation of risks and uncertainties, among others.

Jallow was at the validation of the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture held in Bugolobi recently.

"The youth constitute a significant proportion of 57% of the total labour force and most of them live in rural areas," he said.

 According to the Millennium Development Goals report by UNDP and Government of Uganda 2013, there are approximately 600,000 -700,000 new entrants in the labour market annually, of which 95% are youths.

Ogwanga Yafess, the acting assistant commissioner in charge of agribusiness at the agriculture ministry, said they are going region by region to popularize the policy for everyone to come on board.

"We believe by involving the youth we will strengthen the sector. There are sectors that need energy along the value chain," he said. “We are going back to a single spine extension system.”

When the strategy is ready, every partner would be allowed on board to help right from production to marketing.

Over 50% extension workers have been recruited to organize youths all over the country to take part in agriculture value chain.

 

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