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Sunday,October 20,2019 23:50 PM

120 youth get skills in agriculture

By Chris Mugasha

Added 4th February 2018 02:11 PM

Out of the graduates, 77 were trained as crop managers, while 44 got trained as plant doctors. Ninety four were females and 27 males.

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Out of the graduates, 77 were trained as crop managers, while 44 got trained as plant doctors. Ninety four were females and 27 males.

PIC: Plant-Doctors (left) explaining to farmers about plant diseases at IBO mixad farm, where 121 youth graduated after training. (Chris Mugasha)

MBARARA - Over 121 youth from different higher institutions of learning and farms have been trained in practical agriculture skills.

Out of the graduates, 77 were trained as crop managers, while 44 got trained as plant doctors. Ninety four were females and 27 males.

The trainees graduated on Friday at IBO mixed farm in Bwizibwera Rwanyamahembe sub- county in Mbarara district, where the three months training was conducted from.

The training was funded by Association of Volunteers International (AVSI) under the Skilling the Youth for Employment in Agri-business (SKY) project. 

Among the topics they covered include symptom identification, how to confront disease breakouts among others.

“We have acquired the practical skills which we do not get from our institutions of learning,” said Asiimwe Mujuni, who graduated as a plant doctor.

“We are now able to advise farmers on how to break the cycle of certain diseases through crop rotation,” Mujuni added.

He said many farmers are using pesticides wrongly, an issue he attributed to lack of technical advice.

“Instead of the pesticides killing the pests, they (pesticides) end up damaging the crops,” Mujuni said.

Julius Turyahebwa, the (AVSI) team leader for the SKY project, said the institutions which are offering technical courses such as agriculture do not have the facilities to equip the youth better to become effective in the field.

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Mbarara district chairman John Bosco Tumusiime hands over a soil testing kit to one of the trained youth as AVSI officials look on. (Chris Mugasha)


“We must change the thinking and go practical,” Turyahebwa explained, adding that they have chosen to take such youth to the field to ensure that they get skills which they can apply.

The former MP for Mbarara district, Arimpa Kigyagi blamed  heads of higher institutions of learning for low skilling of the graduates.

 “As farmers, we have money to employ agriculture professionals, but your products are half-baked,” Kigyagi said.

He, however, thanked AVSI for the initiative saying: “We need people who are competent to manage our farms.”

Samuele Otim Rizzo, the AVSI chief of party, appealed to authorities of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC) to consider giving starter up kits to students who graduate in agriculture.

“The knowledge they get from institutions should not get lost as they remain redundant because of lack of kits,” he advised.

On that note, the graduates were each given soil testing kits.

The AVSI country representative, John Makoha, said their focus was in vocational skills amongst the youth.

“If we do not do something to empower the youth, we cannot move ahead as a country,” he said. He advised the youth to stop lamentations and encouraged them to embrace agriculture because it is a good source of income.”

IBO mixed farm director Innocent Arinaitwe, a senior agriculture trainer hailed the New Vision for promoting farming through its different media platforms.

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