As a way of curbing unemployment rate for youths that is currently three times that of adults in Uganda, JKCC has given out farm tools and equipment to youths. The boost is intended to interest youths into coffee growing and coffee value chain business that is predominantly ran by aged farmers.
The tools and equipment have been given to youths in the five Districts of Kalungu, Butambala, Gomba, Wakiso and Mityana Bbanda. The farm tools include; Forked Hoe, Bow saws, secateurs, Sanitizer, and sprayer pumps. The manager Public Relations and sustainability Benon Tugumisirize said that the youths have been equipped with Coffee value chain skills and is confident that the tools given out to youths will be put to good use. “JKCC has today equipped youths with the farm tools and equipment that will not only help them in the coffee value chain but also use them to earn a living. We have trained the youths in the leadership skill, Rehabilitation and Renovation of old coffee farms, small business enterprise formation, among others. These are the right candidates to continue with coffee business” Said Tugumisirize.
According to a 2021 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization, Africa which boasts the globe’s youngest population, two-thirds of youth are unemployed or working in vulnerable, low-paying positions.
As a way of reverting this, JKCC selected youths from five District which are believed to be its stronghold of coffee supply. The criteria were that; a youth MUST be with a good community track record (i.e. as recommended by credible authority for example local leader or religious leader), A resident within the area of operation, Should have interest in agriculture (particularly coffee), A coffee farmer or possesses some coffee knowledge/skills, Should be actively involved in coffee service provision or in other related activities, Should be ready and willing to learn (Can spend about 5 days away for training purposes), 18- 35 years of age, Possess a basic level of education MUST be able to read and write among others.
The training was residential but within a coffee farming community to facilitate practical coffee agronomy sessions. Youths were trained in Agronomy Skills, Business Development Skills – Marketing, Customer care and retention, pricing, Agroforestry, Digital skills – On smartphone and mobile app usage.
After training, business units were created and each youth business unit has been provided with a tool kit that contains tools among others pruning saws and pruning shears to facilitate carrying out the R&R activities, and a data collection mobile device.
Agriculture is the backbone of the economy in many places, totaling 25% or more of GDP in several developing countries especially Uganda. Engaging youth in agriculture — an available, opportune and essential sector for growth — is critical to strengthening local food systems, feeding communities and providing gainful employment opportunities for the world’s booming youth population.