Netherlands gives Uganda Shs56b for young farmers

Mr Samuele Otim Rizzo, the chief of party of the Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) Foundation, said at least 16,000 young farmers will benefit. Photo | Courtesy

What you need to know:

  • Mr Otim asked young people who need support to reach out to their offices across the country. 

The Kingdom of the Netherlands has given Uganda a sum of Euros 14 million (about Shs56.4b) to support young people engaged in agriculture to improve their skills, production and market access.

Mr Samuele Otim Rizzo, the chief of party of Association of Volunteers in International Service (AVSI) Foundation, the organisation spearheading the implementation of the project in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and UN food agency Food Agriculture Organisation(FAO), said at least 16,000 young farmers will benefit.

He said they have already trained several young farmers across the country, singling out the 50 they trained in western Uganda to do artificial insemination, which the farmers needed but had no experts to help them out.

“We want to train youth on the farm where the market of the job is ready and skill the youth, along production and also along the value chain,” Mr Otim said.

“If you are looking at the milk value chain, you will not only be looking at production of milk, but also how to make yoghurt, ghee, ice-cream and how to skill the youth get their products to the market,” he added.

Mr Otim asked young people who need support to reach out to their offices across the country. 

He made these remarks at an event at the National Crops Resources Research Institute in Namulonge, Wakiso District, where about 50 young farmers were either awarded Shs3m each or certificate of recognition for the impact they are creating in their communities. 

The project, which falls under the AVSI Foundation four-year agri-skills development and job creation titled Skilling in Agripreneurship for Increased Youth Employment (SAY), is implemented in at least 20 districts. The project started this year and runs up to 2024.

Mr Yafesi Ogwang, the assistant commissioner for agribusiness at the Ministry of Agriculture, asked the youth to form groups where they can be reached out to easily with different support, including capital. 

He said the government intends to get youth champions in each parish and support them to motivate other young farmers.
Mr Antonio Querido, the FAO country representative, said there is a strong need for deliberate action by the government to retain young people in the farms for food security and of job creation.  He said some youth are shying away from agriculture because of the risks unreliable weather, with many migrating to urban areas.

Mr Mr Querido said this trend leaves mainly the old people in agriculture, which is not sustainable.  “Uganda is a country with quite a young population and this creates challenges in terms of employment because the country may not have sufficient resource to employ all young people,” he said. 

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