Decent Rural Employment


Uganda has experienced stable economic growth over the past 25 years and achieved the MDG target on halving the proportion of people suffering from hunger. However, unemployment and underemployment remain big challenges in the country, especially for the youth. Up to 95 percent of the youth are employed informally, and more than 30 percent are in subsistence agriculture.

Addressing the needs of youth is particularly urgent given that 76 percent of the population is below 30 years and that the annual population growth rate is still among the highest in the world (3 percent).

In particular, more can be done to fully harness the potential of the agricultural sector to create gainful youth employment. Both domestic and regional demand for agriculture commodities is rising, notably for more processed food and protein due to the rapidly increasing urban population. Already, food processing represents 40 percent of manufacturing activity in Uganda and diverse agribusinesses, particularly along the dairy, maize and coffee value chains, have developed in recent years, linking farmers to inputs, markets and finance.

See also: ICA Uganda Rapid Context Analysis at:

ICA priority entry points

  • In collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF) and a multi-stakeholder Technical Working Group (TWG), support the implementation of the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture (NSYEA). Map ongoing NSYEA-related interventions to assess progress and support needs.
  • Generate knowledge on youth opportunities in the coffee value chain and rural youth financial inclusion.
  • Accompany MAAIF to replicate and upscale the Youth Inspiring Youth in Agriculture (YIYA) initiative, launched in the previous ICA phase, with the aim to identify additional Youth Champions in the agricultural sector.
  • Continue to support existing youth groups and networks like the Young Farmers Champions Network (YOFCHAN) and the Young Farmers Federation of Uganda (UNYFA).

Youth Inspiring Youth in Agriculture Initiative in Uganda

Promoting youth employment in agriculture

The video highlights FAO Uganda’s work on supporting youth agribusinesses and inspiring young people into the agricultural sector by creating an enabling environment and decent employment in the sector.

YIYA is a nationwide competition aimed at promoting youth employment in the agricultural sector by recognizing and supporting young agripreneurs, that are role models to their peers and are willing to work with and support other youth through knowledge-sharing, capacity building, and mentorship.

The first cohort of youth champions (25), selected and awarded in 2017, received cash, technical training in different value chains, opportunities to exhibit their enterprises nationally and internationally, and participated in youth-focused policy dialogues on employment in agriculture.

In 2021, over 270 youth champions were selected from over 1 400 applications and 35 national youth champions were recognized and awarded and will further be supported to access opportunities of networking with fellow youth and partners and services providers.

COVID-19: Voices of young agripreneurs in Uganda

In Uganda, the COVID-19 youth engagement initiative promoted by FAO was launched through a network of youth champions and organizations that have been supported by and collaborating with the ICA programme, for instance in the development of the National Strategy for Youth Employment in Agriculture or in the Youth Inspiring Youth in Agriculture initiative.

Watch the video messages recorded by representatives of youth-led organizations and businesses sharing the challenges they face amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and how they are trying to overcome them.

Farmer champions adjusting to remote work

The Young Farmers Champions Network (YOFCHAN) is an association of successful young farmers and entrepreneurs promoting agriculture as a cool and profitable business to inspire fellow Ugandan youth.

In this video Tumwebaze Khamutima, seedling producer and founder of YOFCHAN, shares how movement restrictions affected his business but also the organization’s project delivery. YOFCHAN members have shifted to teleworking using videoconference and digital communication channels and are trying to engage young farmers using the same tools. He calls for tax/loan waivers for young farmers and invites other farmer organizations to work together to create awareness about COVID-19. 


Facilitating access to basic services and information

Khainza Energy is a youth-led company committed to reducing Ugandan households’ reliance on wood fuels by enabling the adoption of biogas as a clean, affordable and sustainable alternative. They package biogas in recyclable cylinders and provide trainings to youth and women. For its efforts to reduce emissions, the company won the 2018 SEED Low Carbon Award.

In this video Arthur Woniala, co-founder and project engineer at Khainza Energy, shares his company struggles and explains how they are limiting physical contact by collecting orders via social media and accepting mobile money payments. While they look at new ways to deliver their #BiogasTrainingProgram online, they are disseminating information about COVID-19 through the company website and their home deliveries.


Keeping young organic producers in business

Farmer Investment Opportunities and Market (FIOM Uganda) is an agribusiness consultancy and marketing company established in 2017. FIOM mobilizes youth through producer clubs and equips them with the entrepreneurial skills they need to profitably engage in agribusiness. They regularly manage an online grocery store, Organo basket, specifically designed to market organic foods and vegetables.

In this video Moses Katuro, managing director of FIOM, explains how Covid-19 has affected their business operations. With the lockdown, supplies from the youth producer clubs have been cut off and left them with no market, as organic agriculture is still a niche market in Uganda. FIOM is trying to acquire a van for collecting directly from those youth and ensure they keep producing.  

⇒ See another video testimonial of a FIOM agronomist from Zirobwe-Luwero district


Young agripreneurs key for food security

Sunday Salveri is a fish farmer in Kasese district, and one of the Youth Champions awarded by FAO and MAAIF as part of the Youth Inspiring Youth in Agriculture initiative.

In this video, Sunday explains his business dilemma. Due to income loss from farm production, processing and retail he has not been able to afford the costs of his six farm workers and now struggles to carry out all the work by himself and protect the farm from thieves while he is away.

He calls upon the government and development organizations to support young agripreneurs as long-time partners to ensure food security in the country. He suggests a revision of the curfew hours or a lift on the transport ban as well as feed supplies or local processing machines, to bring down the cost of farm inputs.


Staying connected to support agrifood SMEs

The Africa Agribusiness Academy (AAA) is a pan-African business platform for small and medium-sized agrifood enterprises. Operating through country chapters - in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Malawi, Ethiopia - the AAA supports entrepreneurs by offering capacity development opportunities as well as marketing, communication and networking support and facilitates collaboration and mutual learning of all members.

In this video, Ssengendo Lawrence, Programs Manager of AAA, remarks how due to COVID-19 youth in agribusiness are confronting higher costs (for transportation of inputs to the farms and produce to the market) in the face of lower demand, as buyers are losing purchasing power. As an organization, AAA started to work from home, keeping in touch with their youth members via Skype, WhatsApp or phone calls, although planned activities such as trainings have been postponed.