Youth should get involved in agricultural activism rather than political activism.

President Museveni in his recent state of the nation address echoed this important statement ‘university graduates of arts courses have begun to get involved in agriculture’ of course many view this as a slap to the unemployed graduates. After watching the speech I tuned into UBC a station with the least youth audience, on it was a program ‘youth entrepreneurship’ were one of my classments, Kato Justus featured showing how he makes ends meet with his banana plantation and cabbage garden, “I pay half my fees, youth should stop selling their land to buy boda bodas because boda boda driving can’t develop the nation” Half fees at UCU for a law student is 1.52 million .

Today youth are selling their plots of land not only to buy boda bodas but to also fund their campaigns or get involved in activism. If all of us get involved in activism as the opposition politicians want, who will than develop the nation?

Youth population is estimated to be 8.5 million in 2015.[1] Further reports from the ministry of gender, labor social development and UNBS have asserted that the youth constitute 78% of the Ugandan population. The Uganda youth policy drafted by the MGLSD defines youth as persons between the ages of 12 to 30. It is worth mentioning that we are the most dependent portion of the population attributing to 1.12 dependency ratio of the country. It’s we who are unemployed escalating the levels to 84%.[2]

The major problems affecting the youth in Uganda today are poverty, unemployment and underemployment.[3] Political activism is not our problem nor can it solve our problems.                     The policy further asserts that the NEGATIVE ATTITUDE OF THE YOUTH TOWARDS WORK ESPECIALLY IN AGRICULTURE AND LACK OF FOCUS BY THE EXISTING PROGRAM MES IN THE INFORMAL SECTOR AND AGRICULTURE SECTOR emphasis mine is the major cause of poverty, unemployment and underemployment among the youth.

The biggest reason as to why Ugandan youth do not get involved in agriculture stems from the general negative perception of the public about the agricultural sector being dirty to the extent that even parents advise their children to stay agriculture, vision 2040 also has this negative attitude too, other factors also include inadequate credit facilitation, low farming profit margins, lack of agriculture insurance and rural urban migration.[4]

“if the agricultural sector was a person it would have been a marginalized group or a woman” In sense that it is the backbone of the Ugandan economy but policy makers, citizens and national planers coupled with politicians hate it to the extent that the target of the country is to reduce the sector’s contribution from 22.4% to 10.4% of GDP, 65.6% to 31% of labor force employed in the sector.[5]

Several reports from World Bank and African development bank show that if the government puts much emphasis on commercialized agriculture the sector could double its figures in regard to productivity and contribution to GDP that means about 44.8% of GDP. This clearly means that agriculture is the only way of solving youth problems especially poverty given the fact that donors have withdrawn aid taps, if government attempts to increase agricultural production by 6% per anum poverty rates can be cut by 7% annually.[6]

If the major employer sector grows at such a rate, definitely expect a similar increase in jobs hence solving the youth problem of “unemployment”. Improvement in agriculture is a double solution to the economy revival in regard to economic growth because it is involved in actual production.                      Its improvement can also highly empower the disadvantaged in Uganda 83 %of the Ugandan woman workforce is in agriculture.

Fellow Youth, when I say let’s get involved in agriculture. I don’t mean that we should all go and start farming, I mean doing anything that is aimed at promoting the sector or with it s raw material from the sector le if u start a fashion house try to use animal hides, design attires using duck feathers and other birds ,they really look wholesome you will have supported a farmer .if u are thinking of a business think of anything agro related. Food industries, coffee shops .There are lots of things you can do to support the sector even when you are not a farmer or do a something friendly to agriculture Le garbage recycling. start a farmers blog etc.

I associate myself with the recommendations of the youth policy that, if youth get involved in agriculture unemployment rates can doubly reduce, the international labor organization annual report on unemployment asserts the same.

This believe is rooted in the fact that 65.5% of the Ugandan work force is in the agricultural sector,[7] This means that the largest percentage of per capita income is apportioned to the agricultural work force, therefore if the state wants to increase per capita income to 9500 in 2040 it must do a lot to commercialize the sector.

Fellow youth lets change the tread and do agricultural activism instead of politician activism because at the end of the day it’s not politics that is going to pay our bills, it will only gets us in prison and be on BAIL ALL THE TIME. Museveni just like you and me will finally die; it’s just a matter of time.

 

Luwagga Allan

Duck farmer and policy analysis t

 

 

 

 

 

[1] UNFPA, state of the population 2012.

[2] UNBS abstract 2012.

[3] Youth policy, MGLSD, 2001.

[4] International food policy research institute. Policy no 29. Adekunleet al.2009.

[5] Vision 2040

[6]Benin et al, Agriculture growth and options for poverty reduction in Uganda, International food policy research institute, Uganda agriculture policy 2011.

[7] Uganda bureau of statistics 2011

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