The government must understand that what is entailed in urban farming is capital and the youths require skills so that they can create avenues and partner with Agrofresh which is already in the agribusiness and already does capacity building and training for the youth.
By Prossy Namiiro
Laban Musinguzi, the Executive Director of Agrofresh Uganda has asked the government of Uganda to empower youths so that they embrace urban farming.
He made the remarks while addressing journalists during the agricultural exhibition that was held at Farmers point in Kira over the weekend.
The exhibition was organized with best intentions of bringing together sector players dealing in agricultural inputs, fresh produce and agricultural machinery to showcase their products.
According to Laban, government must understand that what is entailed in urban farming is capital and the youths require skills so that they can create avenues and partner with Agrofresh which is already in the agribusiness and already does capacity building and training for the youth.
He says Agrofresh already has regionalized projects like the Youth Empowerment and Development in Commercial Agriculture Project where they are partnering with various entities like bank of Uganda, post bank, Uganda National Farmer’s Federation and together, are moving in various regions and areas to train the youths and make them understand how to evolve in urban farming.
“What should be done for the youths to join urban farming is that we should be able to make the youths access credit or what we can call capital because the youths are being challenged with Capital. Most of them don’t own the land because we find that most of the youths are aged between 18-34 and most of the land owners in Uganda are above forty or fifty. So we find that we need to make it so easy for the youths to access Capital, then we can influence them to invest in urban farming.” He said
Laban however stresses that their biggest challenge is post product losses due to poor packaging and storing produces in stores that are not temperature regulated.
“Some of us who are dealing in these fresh foods face what we call a short shelf life. We need temperature regulated stores or coolers, we need freezer tracks so that we reduce on the wastage. We have over 30% of post harvest loss so at the end of the day where someone has invested UGX 100,000, they are loosing UGX 30,000 so if we can reduce on the post harvest loss, that is the biggest problem we are facing right now as youths in the Agribusiness.” He revealed.
Raymond Mugisha, the Manager Millennial farmers point that hosted the agricultural exhibition revealed that they partnered with Agrofresh in organizing the exhibition so that all farmers who could bring their products would be helped to sell and even market on a large scale.
Raymond pointed out that farmers still use substandard seeds and this has greatly interfered with the production of high quality products.
“They do not have quality products on the market and that is the issue we have been facing. First of all the things we sell to our customers are basically substandard. We need to give farmers the quality seeds so that they can actually grow them and then they bring to our markets and then we do the selling.” He said