By Pascal Kwesiga
President Museveni has directed the Gender ministry to minimise the challenges the youth are likely to face before accessing sh256b under the Youth Livelihood Programme.
In a statement read by Vice-President Edward Ssekandi at the opening of the International symposium on agricultural development in East Africa at Serena hotel in Kampala yesterday, Museveni asked technocrats handling the program to help the youth to access the funds easily.
“I am aware of the challenges the youth are facing in trying to access the money. I would like to have these challenges minimised to facilitate the implementation of the programme,” he added. The Parliament recently approved the five-year-youth programme.
The Programme, Museveni said was similar to Uwezo scheme that was launched by Kenya recently to enable the youth to create jobs and play a role in the region’s economic development.
Museveni said in 2011, the regional governments approved a food security action plan to increase food production in East Africa. He noted that although East Africa was affected by food shortages and pockets of famine, it has potential to produce sufficient food for domestic consumption and meet the global food demands.
He hailed the Kilimo Trust, East African Community secretariat, Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa and agricultural ministries of the East African governments for organising the conference.
Themed “Lessons from the first 50 years and prospects for the future”, the conference will evaluate the performance of the agriculture sector in the past 50 years since the East African countries gained independence and make recommendations for scaling up the sector’s performance in the face of escalating global demand for agricultural products and increasing population.
Museveni noted that East Africa needed to “graduate” from exporting agricultural raw materials to exporting processed goods.
According to statistics from the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, he said East Africa is the leading region in producing agricultural products in the world.
“You can imagine what we would be getting (money) if we were selling processed agricultural products,” said Museveni.