WAKISO. Acquiring hand-on skills is an important asset in life. Where other people struggle to get employment, one with hand-on skills simply starts his own where he becomes the boss .
This really fits in the lives of 41 youth who acquired modern agriculture skills courtesy of Kitovu Mobile Aids Organisation .
The trainees were awarded certificates of competency in farming during a graduation ceremony held at Katende Harambe Rural-Urban Training Centre in Namugongo, Wakiso District on September 25.
The youth acquired skills in animal husbandry, fish farming, poultry keeping, cow dung manure making and others.
Mr Achilles Wamala ,the general manager and trainer at Katende Harambe Rural –Urban Training Centre says the youth have been trained for three months at the centre and are capable of applying the skills attained at their homes.
” I am sure our graduates have attained integrated farming skills and are capable of using outputs from one farming project as inputs to subsidize others thus cutting the costs ,”he says
He says with the skills imparted to the youth, if one has a poultry farm , piggery and a plantation ,he can utilize the poultry litter and coffee husks after drying it for some time to kill the dangerous bacteria ,roast it and serve the pigs .
“This means one is using natural limited resources instead of going to the market to buy fertilizers and pesticides.”Mr Wamala notes
He advises other youth to embrace agriculture to earn a living and develop the country.
Ms Gorreti Nakayiwa , the project coordinator Kitovu Mobile Farm School says the youth who benefited from this training are all Primary Seven dropouts .They were drawn from various villages in Lwamagwa Sub- County, Rakai District .
The beneficiaries are in Phase Three of Mobile Farm School programme and Ms Nakayiwa says ,when Katende Harambe Rural-Urban Training Centre requested for names of those they should train in commercial agriculture;’ they zeroed on these ones .
“Those [youth] who implement what we teach them are the ones we selected .We had already trained them in growing vegetables and ensuring food security in their communities and all proved that they have passion for agriculture ,” she says
This is the first cohort of trainees to get such skills from Katende Harambe Rural-Urban Training Centre.
“We expect them to create a critical mass of young farmers .They are expected to train other 75 youth in the sub county who were not considered for this special programme as well as passing on the same skills to communities where they live,” She says
Since the Mobile Farm School started two decades ago, over 4,000 youth have been trained in sustainable organic farming , according to Ms Nakayiwa .
Ms Sylvia Musimeta , one of the beneficiaries says she specialised in fish farming and can now put up a fish pond at home and earn money.
“ With these skills I have acquired ,I cannot look for a job any more ,I really thank Kitovu Mobile for this opportunity ,” She says
Mr Godfrey Kigoye ,the director Katende Harambe Rural-Urban Training Centre urges youth to have a positive attitude towards farming in order to fight poverty.
“I grew up in a poor family and adopted skills in farming, I started as a small farmer , but I am now a millionaire ,”Kigoye says.
He says he now owns a training centre, owns various projects and has imparted innovative agriculture skills in over 800 people .
While agriculture is the backbone of Uganda’s economy and employs more than 65 per cent of Ugandans and feeds more than 80 per cent of country’s industries with raw materials, most farmers practice it without any training, something that has limited their opportunities of transiting from subsistence farming to large scale merchandised commercial agriculture.
Mr Kigoye says with such efforts supported by Kitovu Mobile , he is optimistic that the country will transform from a peasantry–based economy to a modern and industrial self-sustaining nation with a big middle-class.