By Edwin Muhumuza
A range of partners from the donor community, government, and the private sector have moved towards having more youth get employed through agriculture. So far 0ver 27000 youth in Northern Uganda are beneficiaries of a US $11.5 million grant with the objective of interesting youth in farming under the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture(YETA) program.
Under the US-based, National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA CLUSA) leadership, they include reproductive Health Uganda, Youth Alive, Youth Forward with support from Mastercard foundation.
‘We are very pleased to have a range of stakeholders from across various sectors to share their experience given the challenge, of the future youth population in Africa and Uganda in particular we have to solve the existing challenges in terms of training, foundational skills, and connecting them to markets is going to take more than one partner.’ Said Jonathan White, Director of Private Sector Partnerships and Foundation. NCBA CLUSA.
NCBA CLUSA is the largest and oldest trade associations in the United States with US 240million dollars worth of programming worldwide. In Uganda, they run the Youth Empowerment through Agriculture. (YETA) in partnership with Mastercard Foundation valued at approximately US $11.5 million.
Their target is to train 26,250 youth in Agriculture Business Skills. Among the objectives is to improve well-being and confidence among youth association members, access to increased financial services, and developing the technical and entrepreneurial skills to launch their businesses.
YETA is going into the 5th and final year and so far mobilized thousands of youth in Kole, Dokolo, Masindi, and Kiryandongo. It is the youth groups leading the way and YETA is only playing a facilitation role, according to Jonathan White.
Ogwang Yafesi, Assistant Commissioner in charge of Agri-business, under the ministry of Animal Industry and Fisheries said government developed a national strategy for youth employment in Agriculture
‘With FAO, we have created a model called youth champion in Agriculture model where we have trained many youths engaged in the agriculture value chain. Right from production up to marketing, we have picked 5 of them and trained them and scattered all over the country.’
This is part of other models picked from the East African community geared towards helping the youth.
‘What we know is that peer-to-peer is very important that is; when a youth is talking to another youth, he can pick very first rather than me (an adult). We are going to upscale this model to assist the youth this coming financial year we have a proposal we have made to the ministry of Agriculture and they will support it to assist the youth’. Ogwang added.
Out of the targeted 26,000, 813 youth associations have been formed, strengthened and have access to land to practice agriculture, launch and incubate their group businesses.18,419 have established individual businesses while 6,469 youth have started community-based solution provider businesses such as weeding, spraying, irrigation services, being agents for buyers and pre and post-harvest and para-vet services.