Wednesday April 16 2014

Youths get urban farming skills to fight unemployment

Some of the youth who attended the training admire

Some of the youth who attended the training admire tomatoes grown in a green house. PHOTO BY CHRISTINE KATENDE 

By Christine Katende

A two-session training for more than 70 youths on how to fight unemployment through urban farming was held April 5 in Kampala.

The first session was at the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) resource centre in Kyanja, for demonstration, and second at Gayaza Technical and Skills Development Institute, which involved questions and answers.
It was an initiative of Dembe FM in collaboration with Gayaza Technical.

The facilitators were Dr Michael Kirya, manager, agriculture and agribusiness, KCCA, and Dr Esau Galukande, the in-charge of the resource centre.

During the training, youths were taught how to utilise small spaces for farming as an investment for both domestic consumption and income generation. Topics covered included piggery, fruits and vegetables.

“Our main aim of setting up a resource centre is to demonstrate to the urban dwellers the possibilities of urban farming,” Dr Kirya said.

Dr Galukande added that urban farming can be sustainable and also fit in with the physical planning of the city, depending on what one does and the space available.

“People with big compounds can rear birds and animals provided one has well-constructed structures. The one with small space can use veranda boxes for vegetable production. Urban farming applies to all people living in an urban setting,” Galukande explained.

Dr Kirya said because there is little land for farming in Kampala, people should invest in horticulture through the use of green houses. For instance, grow crops like tomatoes that can yield 120kgs per week or sweet pepper that can produce 40 kgs per week.

He showed the youth the high possibility of getting more than Shs10m and Shs6m net profit per production cycle of eight months.

On piggery, Dr Emilian Ahimbisibwe, one of the trainers, said with good production techniques, that a well reared pig can weigh up to 300 kgs.

“With an environmental friendly technology, one can rear as many animals (pigs) in a small space with no pollution from noise and smell. In this case, the farmer cannot inconvenience the neighbours and they grow faster with a limited cost of labour,” he stated.

Urban farming can be done using green houses, veranda boxes, soil sacks, pots that are hanged on walls, among other forms.
However, before setting up anything, Dr Galukande further explained that one has to follow certain ordinances that allow them to practice farming of any kind.

“We advise people who wish to start up projects to contact the production offices at the division level before embarking on any venture. This helps one to get a clear picture of what he or she can do with the space available,” he added.