Renewed call for youth to take up agribusiness

By Racheal Nabisubi

Added 25th May 2016 12:23 PM

"The youths are energetic with a high propensity to consume, and have an excellent source of ideas and innovations.

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The winners of the 'Supa Youth in Agribusiness' camp. From left: Peter Aconi, Bakie Nakabugo, Josephine Akello, Denny Ronney and Adams Nkwasibwe. (Credit: Rachael Nabisubi)

"The youths are energetic with a high propensity to consume, and have an excellent source of ideas and innovations.

Ugandan youth have been advice to take up agribusiness as a way to reduce the problem of unemployment among the young people.

This reiterated call was made by Francis Kyateka, a youth development global specialist in the gender ministry during the four-day Supa Youth in Agribusiness camp held at Kyoto Spiritual Resort.

"We all need food. Why would you go ahead and spend money purchasing items from the soil?

"We need to add value in everything we do. Agricultural products can only be marked if they have value," he said.

Kyateka also called for a general change of attitude towards agriculture, and also taking advantage of SACCOs as a source of capital to venture into agribusiness.

Lucy Twinamasiko, country coordinator of AgriPro Focus the camp said the camp was aimed at motivating the youth into agribusiness through online, peer to peer exchange and learning from youth-led agribusiness enterprises.

The camp acted as an incubator and also helped the youth market to their products.

The camp was held over four days and the winners were decided by a panel of judges. (Credit: Racheal Nabisubi)

Agriculture is one of the mainstream sectors in Uganda's economy, contributing about 22% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

But “many youth look at agriculture as a dirty job. This is because it is also used as a punishment in schools," said Twinamasiko.

She said young people also shun agriculture because of delayed returns.

"The youths are energetic with a high propensity to consume, and have an excellent source of ideas and innovations.  Involving them will help attain a self-sustaining population, leading to improved quality of life.”

A 2014 population report by the Uganda Bureau of Statistics states that youth unemployment stands at 61.5% and about 400,000 youth are released annually in the global market to compete for approximately 9000 available jobs.

The report attributes unemployment to inaccessible access to resources like land, capital, lack of focus on the existing programs on the informal sector and agriculture and overemphasis on experience by potential employers and negative attitude of the youths towards agriculture.

"If the young population does not take up the mantel of food production and farm entrepreneurship, the country might continue in the vicious circle of poverty," came Twinamasiko’s warning.

At the end of the camp, the winners of the SUPA Youth in agribusiness camp received cash prizes.

Leonard Okello of The Uhuru Institute says in order to build the young people in agribusiness, the government should give five years tax free policy and subsidize input to support agribusiness.

 Okello said this will create a friendly environment to engage in agriculture.

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