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FAO empowers youth in Uganda to engage in responsible agricultural investment by supporting the identification of capacities

26/01/2018

The Food and Agriculture Organization actively supports ongoing efforts in Uganda to engage and empower youth to carry out responsible investment in the agricultural sector. In this context, FAO organized a multi-stakeholder workshop from 29 November to 1 December 2017 in Mukono, which comprised a capacity assessment and an expert discussion on the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to respond to some of the identified opportunities and needs.

This workshop aimed at supporting the Ugandan government implement the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture (NSYEA). The strategy highlights how challenges in the agricultural sector can be converted into opportunities to enhance the youth agenda in the country.   

Empowering youth to carry out and benefit from investments is key to address productivity, food security and employment challenges. In Uganda, agriculture contributes to 75 percent of employment, but only to 25 percent of the gross value added (GVA). At the same time Uganda, which has the world’s second youngest population, has a high share of unemployed youth: In 2014, youth (18-30 years old according to the national definition) made up 64 percent of the total unemployed persons. In this context, the FAO Uganda Country Representative, Mr Alhaji Jallow stated at the workshop that engaging youth in the agricultural sector is crucial since the agricultural sector needs to rejuvenate to ensure food security and is also key to reducing youth unemployment.

The workshop, which brought together national “Youth Champions”, representatives from youth organizations, government and finance institutions, was therefore organized at a timely moment. Over two and a half days, participants identified and prioritized existing and needed capacities to engage and empower youth to carry out responsible agricultural investment.

The discussions included reflections on how the CFS Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI Principles) could contribute to an enabling environment for youth in agriculture. The Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Agribusiness Development, in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Mr Ogwang Yafesi, encouraged the participants to endeavor to understand the CFS-RAI Principles and how they can be incorporated into government policies, programs and projects.

As a result of the workshop, participants identified key priorities including improving access to finance through youth investment funds; providing fiscal and other incentives for youth to invest in agriculture; strengthening capacities of youth organizations on financial literacy, agriculture investments, value addition and youth governance; and identifying and publicizing successful stories and investment models for youth in agriculture.

These results were obtained through the pilot utilization of a rapid capacity assessment tool on youth and responsible investment, which has been developed by FAO. With support from the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, FAO will further test and refine this tool in a series of youth events in 2018. The tool will be made available with guiding notes in late 2018 with the aim to help interested practitioners carry out their own assessments of capacities for enhanced investment by and for youth.

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