Engage youth in farming to end poverty, envoy tells govt

Monday November 26 2018

Speaking out. The  Netherlands Deputy

Speaking out. The Netherlands Deputy Ambassador to Uganda Joris Van Bommel addresses farmers at AGDI Farm in Kiruhura District on Friday. PHOTO BY RAJAB MUKOMBOZI 

By RAJAB MUKOMBOZI

Kiruhura. The Deputy Ambassador and head of Development Cooperation and Economic Affairs at the Netherlands Embassy, Mr Joris Van Bommel, has called on the government of Uganda to position the youth at the centre of agriculture.
Mr Bommel, who was on Friday touring the Netherlands funded projects under SNV–a Netherlands Development Foundation, in Kiruhura District, said tapping capabilities of youth into the agriculture sector can create better opportunities for them and spur development.
“The country needs to strategically engage the youth in agriculture. Other assistance such as expertise can enhance this potential,” Mr Bommel said.
He said the arable land (40 million acres of land ) and favourable climate can enable agriculture in the country to flourish.
Mr Bommel’s call comes at a time when the country is faced with a challenge of youth unemployment.
According to Uganda Bureau of Statistics 2016 report, in 2015 almost three quarters (74.4 per cent) of the youth were unemployed.
Most youth, however, prefer to work in urban areas in service sector jobs such as riding boda bodas.
The Ambassador visited Kyakabunga Dairy Farmer Cooperative Society which the Netherlands government has given milk coolers and extension services support.
The society has more than 190 members and collects about 10,000 litres of milk daily from the farmers which is sold to processors, Lake Side and Pearl Dairies in Mbarara.
Mr Bommel also visited a practical dairy training farm run by Lt Col Dick Bugingo.
According to Col Bugingo, the farm with support from SNV has improved agriculture extension services in the community. He said they have trained more than 600 farmers since 2016 in animal nutrition and hygiene, farm management, environmental effects mitigation, pasture growing and management and book keeping.

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