Minister Hellen Adoa, FAO country representative Antonio Querido checking the coffee made my Gerald Katabazi (photo by Ronard Shabomwe)

Over two hundred seventy (270) youth agripreneurs-two per district will be selected at district and regional levels. From these, 135 youth will be selected to represent each district in the country and only 35 youth will be selected at national level.

The officials from ministry of fisheries and Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) have advised youth to participate in this initiative in order to transform their lives and the lives of others.

They say that by venturing into agriculture, the youth will be able to employ themselves and as well employ other youths who are unemployed.

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Uganda has one of the youngest populations in the world. According to the 2016/17 Uganda national household survey, in 2017, 75.2 percent of the 3.7 million Ugandans then were below the age of 30.

According to Antonio Querido the FAO country representative in Uganda, it becomes challenging for investments and development to generate sufficient decent jobs to absorb the growing young population into the workforce.

Antonio notes that if we are to make substantial progress towards attaining national and global aspirations for sustainable development, it is important to engage and re-engage youth in productive enterprises like agriculture and agribusiness.

He remarks that it is however unfortunate that many capable and productive youth in Uganda tend to shun agriculture due to the risks involved, its intensive nature and low profitability.

Antonio further appeals to the state and stakeholders to support youth to develop skills and insight to engage in farming and adopt environmentally friendly production methods that will help them create jobs for youths and boost their agricultural and agribusiness undertakings.

The state Minister for Fisheries Hellen Adoa said, that the agriculture sector is a great source for employment to the youth and that the ministry in collaboration with FAO, and the ministry of gender labor and social and development has since 2016 embarked on sensitizing and supporting the young generation to join agribusiness.

The officials were speaking during the launch of the second round of youth champions in agriculture competition at Media center early today where they announced that this year 2020, the ministry of Agriculture, animal industry and fisheries together with FAO will hold the second round of the Youth Champions initiative competition and scale up the model into a national youth mentorship program.

Youth championship initiative is a program that is aiming at supporting youth to develop skills and insight to engage in farming and adopt environmentally friendly production methods that will help them create jobs for youths and boost their agricultural and agribusiness undertakings

All the 270 champions will benefit from youth peer-to peer support activities while the district and national champions will attend a weeklong technical training at the national farmers’ leadership center (NFLC). They will also have opportunities to participate in national agricultural exhibitions and dialogues related to youth employment in agriculture.

The forms can be found at office of the district production and marketing officer at all district headquarters, district offices of the Uganda national farmers’ federation and websites of two youth network-young farmers champions network (YOFCHAN) and young farmers’ federation of Uganda (UNYFA)

The first round of the youth champions initiative in 2017, 25 youth agripreneurs from across the country were selected. They received training, financial support to boost their enterprises and networking opportunities to grow their ventures among other rewards.

Gerald Katabazi the CEO of Volcano coffee which is located at forest mall Lugogo is one of the youth who benefited from the first round. He says that youths should forget about the courses they studied if they are not getting what they want so that they venture into agriculture.

Katabazi who is a teacher by profession advises those who want to win the competition to be very first in terms of thinking and innovation and to use the opportunity to engage in agriculture.

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