Youths in the districts of Tororo and Mbale have been urged to take advantage of the income and employment opportunities that lie in coffee production. The appeal was made during the just concluded week long youth boot camp held at Lukhonge agricultural demonstration farm grounds in Mbale district.
Organized by Inspire Africa, the skilling camp attracted about 400 young people from the districts of Mbale and Tororo.
In her remarks during the closing ceremony, the Minister of Northern Uganda, Grace Kwiyucwiny called on the youths to take advantage of government projects such as the one on coffee in order to overcome the challenge of unemployment that is rampant.
She highlighted that the NRM government is combating youth unemployment a priority through multiple ways, and this public private partnership with Inspire Africa to attract and skill the youth in growing and adding value to coffee is one of the smart strategies.
Doctor Lim Lim who is the Director of Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) appealed to the youth to focus their energies towards opportunities in agriculture rather than running to urban centers where opportunities are fast dwindling coupled with acute competition.
During the boot camp, the selected youth were taken through classes on communication, entrepreneurship, financial management, company registration and life soft skills such as confidence and setting personal goals.
An official from Bank of Uganda informed the youth that money is a medium not wealth in itself cautioning them to invest any returns from their coffee businesses in future rather than resorting to bad habits like gambling.
Solomon Mataki, a youth from Mbale, expressed joy on learning about the various opportunities that the coffee value chain presents to young people. “I didn’t know you can earn millions by growing just one acre of coffee “
According to Uganda Development Authority, Uganda earns about USD 500 million per year from exporting between 3 to 4 million bags of coffee, and the government recently launched a campaign to increase coffee production to about 20 million bags by the year 2025 which will earn the country USD 1.5 billion.
Nelson Tugume, the Chief Executive Officer of Inspire Africa the company behind promoting coffee business in Northern Uganda said that it will take private sector innovations to attract the youth who are energetic to transform and manage the coffee sector to achieve the country’s vision.
After Mbale, the skilling youth camps will go to other districts of Northern Uganda as organisers rally the youth to take advantage of opportunities in agriculture.
In the end, Inspire Africa and NUSAF3 have set their eyes on establishment of at least 200 acres plantations of coffee in each of the districts where the programme is currently being piloted.