By RICHARD MUGISHA
KAMPALA- SHIFTMEDIA- Earlier this month we penned in these pages the aspect of increased youth unemployment, that has continued to remain a complex puzzle in the East African region.
This is amidst the huge youth population (75%) in Uganda.
The onset of new initiatives by YALTA (Youth in Agroecology & Business Learning Track Africa), is itself a “light at the end of the tunnel.
Mugisha Richard the YALTA Uganda Country Manager says scores of youths who have identified in Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Rwanda are now set to benefit from the planned youth mentorship trajectory in the region. This mentorship trajectory is aimed at providing individual (youth) support on topics regarding the application of agroecological principles for enhanced business growth with socio-economic and environmental benefits. It is expected to kick start on 1st June 2021.
These youth will be mentored and coached by business experts with practical skills and tools to enable them to start, manage and sustain agroecology businesses, in a bid to address the youth unemployment, low agricultural productivity, as well as declining status of natural resources and biodiversity.
According to Mugisha, the over 6,000 youth will also get tips and skills regarding how to cope with the new normal, amidst the Covid 19 pandemic.
“We have assembled a team of seasoned business and Agroecology experts driven by passion and good will to walk the Agroecology business journey with youth; in order to make youth Agroecology business ideas, a reality said Mugisha.
What is agroecology?
Agroecology is an integrated approach that simultaneously applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of food and agricultural systems.
What lies ahead?
After the caravan, now comes the mentorship. But this doesn’t mean the end of the program, according to Mugisha.
“More opportunities still lie ahead after the mentorship. Many opportunities such as Business Accelerator for Youth in Agroecology (BAYA) where the winner will walk away with 10,000 Euros. The challenge will also guide young people to discover, define, develop and deliver AE-produced products and services on the market. said Mugisha in an interview.
With these funds, the selected beneficiaries will strive to address the gaps related to Agroecological market-driven quality and quantity aspects.
YALTA initiative is supported with funds from the IKEA Foundation and Participatory Ecological Land use Management (PELUM) Uganda is the host and implementer of YALTA for the two-year duration 2021-2022.
“The youth to be supported should be between the ages of 18-35, rural and urban, start-ups and progressive entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector especially those involved in the production, value addition, agro-input supply and agro-processing,” said Mugisha.
More about YALTA
The YALTA initiative targets youth in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda, while it follows a market-based approach and convenes a wide range of stakeholders, from seed distributors to academia and from farmers to policymakers. All sharing a wide range of knowledge and experiences to push for collective advancement, from identifying the major issues to co-creation of solutions.
The author is the YALTA Regional ManagerUganda