Development partners in agriculture have been told to come up with programmes that can attract the youth to take part in the sector.
The Country Director of Sasakawa Global 2000 Uganda Dr Nyamutale Roseline noted that the agriculture sector has the potential to improve the social and economic status of the youth but very few are interested in the sector because of the high cost of production involved.
“It’s time to come up with special programs targeting the youth in the agriculture sector their effective participation will enhance the sectors growth since they are the majority in the country.
“The reason why the sector is not progressing is that majority of the people participating at the production level are ageing which means their capacity to Increase production is declining; we need the younger generation to effectively participate in the sector,” she said during press conference at the Sasakawa Global 2000 Uganda in Kampala.
According to her, some of the challenges that are keeping the youth to effectively participating in the Agriculture sector include high costs for agriculture inputs , unfavorable market conditions for produces and inadequate agricultural extension services which impact decision making for enterprises suitable for the youth.
On accessing to market for produce, the country director advised government to support farmers in forming cooperatives which she said will boost their bargaining power for produces instead of being cheated by middlemen.
“The market for agricultural produce is available but the challenge is that most farmers prefer operating on individual basis; this is not good. Once farmers trade in groups, chances of being cheated by middle men will be minimized. Government should support farmers to form groups, legalize cooperatives; this will open market opportunities for their produce both in Uganda and the rest of the,” she advised.
Quality of produce
She urged those already in cooperatives to ensure that their produces meet required standards. Nyamuntale noted that most agricultural produces from Uganda fail to compete with those from neighbouring countries on the regional markets because of poor post-harvest handling.
She revealed that poor handling of agricultural produce has exposed them to get contaminated with aflatoxin which causes cancer.
“Famers should improve on post harvesting handling poor handling of grains has exposed many Ugandans to cancer no single country will open its markets to grains that are suspected to be contaminated by aflatoxin. Farmers should embrace cheap but effective technologies on the market to keep their cereals safer from getting contaminated for the good of their market” she added.
On climate change which is becoming one of the major challenge for farmers, Godfrey Katwere, marketing manager of NASECO 1996 Limited, a seed company, advised farmers always to plant drought resistances seeds varieties.
“Uganda, like other countries, is facing the challenge of climate change but farmers don’t need to worry because scientists have developed varieties that can withstand the effects of climate change, however farmers need to take precautions when buying such seeds because some dealers are selling fake seeds on the markets our farmers should only buy seeds from certified seed companies or their supplies across the country” he advised them.
Sasakawa Global 2000 Uganda is one of the non-government organizations that are supporting Ugandan farmers to improve their productivity through providing Agricultural Extension services, supporting farmers also to engage in value addition. Since its inception in the early 1996 the organization has supported over two million farmers across the country in the over 20 districts where it’s operating.
BY SAMUEL NABWIISO