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Symposium: Skilling youth for innovative climate smart agribusiness




The opening statement was given by Mr. Francis Kisirinya of the Private sector Foundation. He emphasized the need for empowering and skilling youth engaged in agriculture in order that they may meet the demands of feeding an ever increasing yet more sophisticated population.

He reiterated that there are new challenges in agriculture and that the future demands of consumers were difficult to determine. He cited the emerging issue of traceability and expressed the view that it had the potential to create uncertainty for youth engaged in agriculture.

Objectives of the symposium

The symposium was organized to achieve the following objectives;

  • That we would be able to share approaches to training and skilling young people so that they are able to develop agriculture;
  • That we shall be in position to foster learning and adaptation about the training and also be in position to identify the skills and gaps in agriculture and also among the various practitioners.
  • That we should be in position to document any lessons and issues from which to generate policy messages that we can discuss with policy makers.

David Olim – Homa Farms Gulu

David joined the DYNAMIC Training Programme in 2017 when he failed to continue with formal education because of financial problems.

He was trained in horticulture production – growing different vegetables at a mixed farm. He enrolled for horticulture but also got involved in the livestock section – in piggery production. After the training he undertook examinations from the DIT for non-formal students and performed well.

After the training he teamed up with 7 others and started a business incubation group – growing different horticulture products and raising pigs. The group targeted to earn 20 million shillings in the first year, but made 10 million. In addition, he grew cabbages with the knowledge he had acquired and made 1 million shillings in the first year.

After his success he joined a community polytechnic in Agriculture and emerged the second best student. He will now join the National Agricultural College at Bukalasa. He has prospered; he is able to pay school fees for his siblings and has been promoted at his job. There is a saving group at the farm where he was the biggest saver last year with 1.8 million shillings.

From his experience, he said that vulnerable youth have impediments to attending training but targeted skilling can help to bring young people out of poverty through agriculture.

Violet Kukundakwe – Youth Champion

Violet initially thought farming was a dirty job for poor people living in squalid conditions. She was however fortunate to meet a different breed of farmers both youth and experienced farmers. She was encouraged by an experienced farmer to start small but she did not have the money required.

Starting a farming enterprise with others was difficult because young people do not want to partner with others, yet no one wants to invest in youth agriculture enterprises. She started small by saving her salary. She started with 250 layer but her inexperience with feeding and disease control was evident as she lost all her flock. Six years later her farm has grown to a capacity of 6,000 birds and hopes to stock 20,000 birds in the next 5 years.

She reiterated that youth need to be shown successful farming initiatives from which they will pick examples and encouragement. Youth will not run away from farming as long as they make money. Other jobs can be as dirty as agriculture but once profitable, youth will want to join.

Her approach to farming is that it must be clean and smart. Her workers maintain cleanliness and smartness on the farm as a rule. People should not associate farming with dirt, hunger and the poverty – the picture that she had painted of farming before. Once that is done, youth will want to join. Youth already in the sector need to be encouraged (pushed further) because it can be a lonely road – networking is important for success.

It is also important to target young people in schools. Farmers should be involved in school career days together with doctors and engineers to interest the best people into the sector.

Chothom Emmanuel – Agribusiness Entrepreneur

Finished advanced level education in 2010 and could not continue with education. He originally undermined agriculture – but from the various training opportunities he received, he learned that agriculture can be profitable.

He is now a maize farmer and made a profit of 1.5 million shillings from last season. He used the proceeds to buy more land and pay school fees for family members. His youth group received funds from the Youth Livelihood Programme and started a produce buying business.

For youth that participate in agri-business there are challenges with security and the inefficient conflict resolution processes. 

Najjemba Rita Lutaaya

Originally trained as an accountant but was forced to quit her first job because of work place abuse. Her parents facilitated a visit to a prominent piggery farmer and provided land.

She got several training opportunities and participated in an exchange programme in Germany. From her training experiences, farming depends on five pillars (Fs);

  • Food production – to fight hunger we need to produce large quantities of high quality food.
  • Finances – from partnerships and fundraising – so young people are encouraged to develop business plans and work with one another and do high level agriculture.
  • Future – farming is generational, when a family starts farming – the enterprise lasts through generations.
  • Fun – if you want to encourage young people you need to make it fun, we also need to mind the stories we share and be creative with other things such as music
  • Factory (value addition) – technology is important for production.

She challenged young people to network and think out of the box in order to take agriculture to the next level.

Derrick Akampurira – Working As An Intern On Youth Agriculture Projects

Worked with out of school youth on agriculture projects in Masindi. They generate money from agriculture, they do amazing things because it is the only opportunity they have out of poverty.

Youth want to work but there are challenges especially with involving young people in the planning of interventions. The interventions in many cases confuse youth, yet in other places youth with special needs have peculiar needs.

Interventions should focus on bridging information gaps, on mindset change from chasing quick money to planning long term investments. On the whole, young people need interventions in agriculture, reproductive health and business skills.


Ministry of Education and Sports – Mr. Patrick Sempala

The Ministry is involved in the supervision of several institutions of higher learning including universities, farm institutes and farm schools.

There is new effort in the ministry to work through councils for innovation of several agricultural technologies. There is also focus on genetic improvement of varieties for adaptation to climate change. There is also a policy on industrial training so that all sections of youth may be skilled.

On what sort of skill gaps have been identified to undermine agri-business entrepreneurs? – Training is primarily undertaken by institutions – what is important is that there are several skill gaps with traditional farmers. The long term aim of the Ministry is to establish a system where people start farming after being trained.

Ministry of Gender, Labor and Social Development – Mr. Amule Ocaya

The Ministry of gender does not have a direct policy on skilling youth in agriculture – but there are a number of programmes targeting people.

One of the signature programmes is the Youth Livelihood programme – and there is testimony from one of the participants of the symposium. There is a sister programme – the Uganda Women Entrepreneurship programme. The programmes support youth or women in groups. Beneficiaries are the collateral.

These programmes are related in their objectives – looking at two things; improving incomes of youth or women and employment. When implementing these programmes, the ministry looks at providing marketable vocational skills, providing financial support services, developing entrepreneurship skills and attitude change.

In terms of agriculture, these programmes do supports three important things; primary production (cotton growing, maize, tomatoes), marketing (produce or livestock) and value addition (juice making, lotions, bull fattening etc)

The ministry is learning through these approaches that youth are largely misunderstood to resent agriculture and that in fact local government leaders are discouraging youth from agriculture. Programmes have shown that 36% of all supported projects are in agriculture. In UWEP, 56% of the projects are in agriculture, even though the programme targets women from 18 – 65 years of age.

The other programme strictly for youth is the Youth Venture capital Fund. It was originally imitated by the ministry of Gender, then it was taken to finance and finally bought back to Gender.

The programme is implemented through the Private Sector – particularly Centenary Bank. The programme targets both individuals and youth in groups. The maximum amount of money provided is up to 25 million, but one should be able to meet the other requirements of the bank. The programme targets youth already in business. Of not less than 3 months.

There is another programme called Inclusive Green Growth Programme. It has several components but those related to agriculture include; Jua Kali – who are instrumental in value addition to agricultural products. With this programme, beneficiaries need to pay back the funds received. The funds are given as a grant – and the competition is high.

There is also the Songhai Model – at the Kampiringisa Center – where a farming model has been set up to improve traditional farming looking at high food production and sustainability. Currently, a number of youth organizations have been hosted for study tours.

There are several challenges to these programmes including; marketing and branding especially with those doing value addition, certification from UBOS, huge post-harvest losses, poor business management skills, and inadequate access to extension services.

MAAIF Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries –Mr Yafesi Ogwang

Agriculture has been acknowledged as being very important for the development of the country.

The agriculture we would like to consider at the symposium handles crop production, animal husbandry and research all along the value chain.

At the ministry, there are several things being done to make agriculture comfortable for youth. There are a number of policies that have been developed and harmonized and in all policy documents the ministry recognizes youth as the majority of the population – with over 60% of them engaged in agriculture. Youth issues are mainstreamed in all MAAIF documents and the MGLSD are the primary partners at all levels.

MAAIF implements the Agriculture Cluster Development Project (ACDP) in 57 districts – working with local government workers and extensionists up to the sub-county.

The programme provides grants to groups that must comprise 20% youth. The groups receive subsidies on agriculture inputs. For value addition, the project pays 67% and the groups pay 33% of the cost of machinery.

The major partners in terms of youth issues is FAO – with a fully developed strategy for ensuring youth employment in agriculture. The strategy covers 5 thematic areas – ensuring an enabling environment for youth employment in agriculture, supporting youth oriented agriculture extension, improving youth education and learning,

MAAIF encourages state and non-state actors to implement these thematic areas. The ministry works with and has trained 100 youth champions around the country and also emphasize the Songhai Model of farming.


Driving Youth-led New Agribusinesses and Microenterprises (DYNAMIC)

The programme targets out of school youth between 15 and 24 years of age. The programme started in 2015 and will end in 2021.

The core approach for the programme is to make markets work for the youth – through several pillars.

On skilling youth for agriculture, the programme uses two models; the vocational training model and the peer education model.

While doing vocational training, the programme works with existing vocational training institutes that link to community based agricultural training outreach centers to deliver much needed training – including developing curricula for short term training courses – targeting out of school youth.

The programme has also developed digital learning platforms in partnership with several IT companies in order for youth access advice through mobile platforms.

Under the peer to peer approach, there are four core focus areas; life skills, business skills, adult literacy and group dynamics – to ensure that there is cohesion amongst youth group members.

From the DYNAMIC training, 70% of graduates are involved in agri-business value chains. Training is helping youth access employment in agriculture.

850 peer educators have been trained – there are now 40,000 youth who have joined VSLAs. 3% of graduates of the peer to peer training have joined commercial agriculture.

The progamme has learned that training should be linked to market research to understand the contests of training.

Training should be made accessible and interesting for youth;

also partnerships play a critical role in enabling youth engage in agri-business.


The college was established as an in-house college to train manpower for the ministry of agriculture. Over time with the expansion of the agriculture sector, the college shifted its training approach.

Over time the college has introduced new courses – horticulture and agri-business management. In addition the college has strengthened the internship program and has put emphasis on students’ projects that encourage innovation, and increasing internship attachment to private sector establishments.

The college has developed three curricular for integrating business management in every course at the college, emphasizing competence based education and training. There is also in the offing an incubation center for students and funding for student led agri-businesses.

 Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture (YETA)

The programme mobilizes youth and trains them in cohorts. Each cohort has a group of 30-35 youth. Once the group has been mobilized they are taken through a series of trainings; governance – foundation skills – financial literacy – entrepreneurship – agro-technical.

After this training, each group selects a value chain of their interest and receive mentorship for six months through which they are linked to a prominent farmer who has mastered the value chain. The program then establishes linkages with the private sector for funding.

The programme also focuses on youth friendly services – reproductive health aimed at improving sex behavior and encouraging family planning.

The programme relies of government structures at the local government extension officers, NAADS officers and Officers of Operation wealth Creation. The programme also works with various agro-input dealers to train farmers on the demonstration farms.

For post-harvest handling, the program promotes special storage nags that keep produce intact for a long period of time.

Youth Champion – JP Farm

JP is an urban farm that encourages to use small pieces of land profitably. Farm started in 2016. JP graduated from MUBs with a degree in HR – but he was not into HR and office work.

He started small on a family piece of land – growing greens and straw-berries. He got a mentor who introduced to learning the hard way. He is confident that he has learned from the hard experience.

JP is trying several innovations at his farm – creating gardens out of anything. He encourages young people to do what they can with what they have.

From his experiences, it is important to allow young people to express themselves and that there young people doing amazing work across the Kampala that need to be empowered to speak up. He emphasized the need for ICT platforms to learn and network with others in the field. Ultimately, models and peers are important in helping to turn the image of agriculture amongst youth.


  • The symposium needs to ponder the matter of safeguarding youth interventions in agriculture.
  • A participant provided information that there was a database for youth in agriculture at the innovation village that participants could join and utilize for networking
  • A participant made the point that sometimes you need a foundation for education to succeed in agriculture – because passion and education bring about the confidence needed to succeed in agriculture.
  • In all the work that we do with youth, identifying the most vulnerable youth is always a challenge.
  • A participant made the point that the symposium did not make a clear linkage between agribusiness in addressing adaptation to climate change. He called on participants to critically think about responding clearly to climate change.
  • When agriculture succeeds it is fruitful but it risky business. Future discussions need to include managing the risks in agriculture, ensuring quality inputs and popularizing business models that work for agriculture.
  • It is important for youth champions in agribusiness to engage with policy makers while they are being formulated.

The following are the important lessons from the presentations at this symposium;

  • We need to remove that prejudice from agriculture – because we have all depended on agriculture and we should talk about a respectable undertaking.
  • Youth involvement in agriculture begins as an idea and that youth need to define themselves what they want do first.
  • Without networks will not succeed in agriculture. Also agricultural business is not for retiring people, it is for youth first and foremost.
  • From thus symposium we learned that you can do much on small pieces of land as long as farmers have applied scientific approaches to farming.
  • We have also learned that family size affects the potential to make it in agriculture and other initiatives – so the need to integrate sexual reproductive health in agricultural youth endeavor is apparent.

From these lessons we may ponder the following policy recommendations;

  • Agriculture is business and for that matter, early learning and training is important so is taking calculated risk, to understand business management and branding.
  • Because the climate is changing, we must innovate and support agricultural innovation.
  • Access to collateral free agricultural loans is important for enabling to youth to succeed in agriculture.
  • There is need for cooperation amongst youth involved in agriculture, therefore it is important to revive the cooperative meeting.
  • Learning and exposure are critical so youth involved in agribusiness must invest in market research.
  • Revitalize District farm Institutes and create mechanisms for youth to engage better with extension workers.
  • Quality in value addition and branding should be enhanced and there is need to deliberately invest in youth led investments along the entire agriculture value chain.
  • We must rethink undertaking agriculture amidst climate change the challenges of pests and preparedness to respond to diseases.
  • Finally government needs to improve coordination of government programs targeting youth in agriculture.


No. Name Ministry/Org. Position Email Address
1. Patience Byaruhanga MasterCard Foundation Lead Agriculture
2. Jude Okongo Youth Alive Director Program
3. Amule Julius Ocaya MGLSD NPM
4. Yikiro Justine DYNAMIC Youth Engagement Advisor
5. Oling David DYNAMIC Youth
6. Ayot Concy DYNAMIC Youth 0778611405
7. Muwawu Samuel M-Omulimisa Field Officer
8. John Ssenyonga Heifer International Senior Program Manager
9. Jacqueline Zawedde DYNAMIC Comms Coordinator 0776312250
10. Edison Adman MAAIF/NFLL Principal edison
11. Choice Agaba NARO/NARL-Kawanda Research Officer
12. Najjemba Ritah OIKOS Youth ENT. Director
13. Kanyesigye Pison MGLSD PI Officer Skills Development-UWEP
14. Arinaitwe Francis IYET Youth Representative
15. Violet Kukundakwe Knesting Farm Enterprises Director
16. Nyanga Amos Ministry of Trade PMSMEO
17. Byaruhanga Wilfred MAAIF-Bukalasa Agric. Center Lecturer Agribusiness
18. Ogwang Yafesi MAAIF AC/AB
19. Segawa Mike A.. Forum Agronomist
20. Oyuku Michael Obeza Y.A Agro-Vet Service
21. Gakuo Roy Imuka Access LEAD
22. Justus Lyatu Daily Monitor Writer
23. Okello Edmond DYNAMIC Youth 0785360266
24. Amony Agness AVIS-Foundation E.S 0775593099
25. Gloria Asingwire MAAIF EDO 0701967339
26. Moses Katta CURAD Business Manager 0777689245
27. Clothum Emmanuel NCBA CLUSA Youth
28. Okalo Denis Odong NCBA CLUSA Youth 0782024368
29. Akello Agnes TAMPI ANYIM Youth 0788786269
30. Luwaga John Paul JP Farm Proprietor 0704483422
31. David Ocheng DYNAMIC SLA 0772380191
32. Fred Mutenyo VSO PM 0772860659
33. Ahumuza Ronah UYONET PA 0777408437
34. Sanyu Phiona DRT/IYET Secretariat Programme Coordinator- Youth Forward Learning Partnership
35. Akampurira Daphine DRT/IYET Secretariat Program Officer-Youth Forward
36. Etany Solomon DYNAMIC Youth Engagement Coordinator
37. Okanya Johnson DYNAMIC Driver
38. William Matovu Heifer International Country Director
39. Naphtal Etang YETA C.O.P
40. Bosco Otulo YETA CS/RAZ
41. Lionor Innovation Village Ag tech Lead
42. Joseph Miti DRT CO
43. Tumwebaze Khamutima YOFC HAN CEO
44.. Kiryowa Abdul E.A Business Dev’t Assistant EA-ABIC
45. Alero Loyies DYNAMIC Youth 0775114403
46. Opiyo Geofrrey DYNAMIC Youth 0772408014
47. Africano Kasingye NCBA CLUSA DMEL 0776351041
48. Mugisa Cyprian UMA Program Officer 0772688297
49. Bonny Kagaba MUBS Ass. Lecturer 0704873378
50. Kitimbo Isaac MGLSD Driver 0784244680
51. Akomi Richard Adiradira MTIC SMSME 0772853589
52. Harriet Hope Akello Climate Action Network Uganda Programs Manager 0783046667
53. Tinkasiimire Joel YETA Youth Secretary 0781419303
54. Julian Nyaclwu DYNAMIC D. Prog Dir 0785085730
55. Ssentongo David UNFFE Training Officer 0776419546
56. Lucy Mulugo Makerere University Lecturer
57. Mebrah Kobusingye Imuka Access Project Coordinator
58. Herbert Musoke Media-Bukedde Journalist
59. Juliet Kasirye Newvision Journalist
60. Ddumba Lawrence NBS TV Journalist
61. Busoomoke Marcelina National Youth Council R&DO
62. Jeremiah Keeya Mwange Uganda Parliamentary Forum on Youth Affairs Coordinator
63. Bukenya John PSPU Driver  
64. Innocent Kayiza MOE SMO
65. Baker Kasa   Driver  
66. Kayemba Ivan YIC DYC  
67. Justine Magala Imuka Access Relations Manager
68. Kitimbo Isaac MGLSD Driver 0784244680
69. Fransic Kisirinya PSFU Chairperson IYET
70. Kyateka Mondo MGLSD ACT
71. Ntende Johnson MUDADU Director
72. Musaasizi Joel K’LA-Koalition Rapporteur
73. Kiconco Hilda Makerere Uni. Intern 0779681491