By Baluku Jack and Baluku Alex
The Youth in Rwenzori sub region have been implored to engage in Agriculture for continuous production of foods and as an alternative approach to survive the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.
The Population of Uganda is a youthful one comprising of about 80% aged below 35 years. Youth however, have been declining to engage in agriculture .Notable, is that agriculture is the main economic activity of the country accounting for 24% GDP and main source of livelihood for 70% of the population.
The sector has been recording a poor performance in the recent years and the continuous decline of youth engaging in agriculture may lead to a further setback. The effect will be a strain to the achievements of set government goal towards economic growth and development.
Mr. Zimonia Muke the Kasese District National Resistance Movement-NRM Youth League Chair Person, says that in order to improve youth involvement in agricultural production and processing in Uganda, attention should be given to the factors leading to youth migration to urban areas.
He also asked government to find out how access to land affects youth engagement in agriculture across the country. He added that the country can only reduce youth unemployment through sustainable agriculture.
Mufuluma Lazeri noted that there is clearly poor perception about agriculture among youth.
He said that Agriculture is perceived as a dirty job, for the less educated and as a low income earner saying that if the youth do not change their perception of agriculture, the productivity of food in this sector will continue decreasing consequently the government’s goal of an innovative, commercial oriented and modern agricultural sector in line with the Vision 2040 will not be achieved.
“About 60 per cent of Africa’s population is below the age of 30 and so we have to make the profession attractive in order to absorb most of their numbers into farming. That is the way to go if we want to develop the continent,” Mr Mufuluma said.
BUNDIBUGYO-Methodius Balyesiima, the General Manager Semuliki Cooperative Union in Bundibugyo district says many young people are preoccupied with the idea to hold white collar jobs yet they can make a better earning from engaging in agriculture.
Balyesiima says Bundibugyo which relies largely on agriculture ought to have many young people directly involved on how to creatively harness from the cocoa sector.
Bundibugyo district production officer Geoffrey Kisembo says the district continues to grapple with low production of food crops thus making it a gap that the youth can tap into.
According to Kisembo, a paltry 5% of the youth is what is involved in agricultural sector thus making the district food insecure.
Former Bundibugyo district woman parliamentary candidate, Harriet Musumba noted that many youth are still holed up in a mindset challenge where they assume that agriculture is for the poor.
Musumba implored even the educated youths to tap into agriculture so as be self-employed.