Teso Youth Agricultural Production Initiative for Peace in Uganda

Article by David Adengu, email; adengudavid8@gmail.com

I founded the Teso Youth Agricultural Production Initiative for Peace with the aim of reversing the agricultural challenges facing the youth in Uganda and the Teso sub-region, in particular to foster peace and development. Uganda is a third world country, located in East Africa and has been independent for 68 years. 78% of the Ugandan population are young people and poverty leads to high gender-based violence in households.

Over 70% of the population are engaged in agriculture, with only 30% of the farmers getting the best yields due to climatic changes arising from global warming. Our initiative will lay the foundation to promote peace by feeding the world.

Despite agriculture being the backbone of Uganda’s economy, as well as providing the main source of its people’s revenue and contributing 40% of the national revenue, many farmers do not get good yields due to poor weather, market prices and limited extension service.

The youth – particularly young women – are most affected as they easily get sucked into conflict due to unemployment; young women are battered due to limited resources. However, Uganda is blessed with two rain cropping seasons annually, where farmers engage in rain-fed agricultural production. Agriculture has remained a nightmare in most parts of Uganda, especially in the Teso sub-region where farmers have limited knowledge of high-yielding crop varieties and practice poor farming activities. Neither do farmers follow good agricultural practices like mulching, pruning, proper spacing, weeding and harvesting, which lowers yields and increases gender-based violence in households due to a low food supply. Besides the low-yielding crop varieties, the use of rudimentary and less productive equipment such as hand hoes for clearing, planting, weeding and harvesting of crops also reduces productivity and increases youth idleness – a factor that increases the chances of the youth engaging in violent activities. The unpredictable natural disasters like floods, drought and pests in the Teso sub-region also massively affect agricultural production. For example, in 2007 floods alone destroyed over 90% of the food, 80% of the people were displaced and 100% struck by hunger in the affected areas.

I aim to start a project to solve the situation of youth idleness, low food supply and increased chances of violence in the Teso sub-region.

We aim to provide state-of-the-art agricultural machinery such as tractors, combined harvesters, water pumps, fertilizers and pesticides. These inputs will increase agricultural output to up to 80% in the Teso sub-region and to up to 70% in Uganda as a whole. The project will then create jobs for the youth, producing food for the growing population, and boosting the government’s revenue.

The Teso Youth Agricultural Production Initiative for Peace will establish a youth agricultural demonstration center to disseminate modern skills and new technologies to empower the youth to be productive, thereby promoting peace. I want to mobilize youths to participate in agricultural production to enhance the bulking of selected crop value chains for bulk marketing and better price negotiations. I will procure modern crop and animal technologies for demonstration and supply to young farmers to boost their production and create an information exchange platform to improve young farmers’ knowledge.

We will promote peace-building in all our project designs and implementation. Mobilizing all communities and empowering youth to appreciate the vital role they play in peace-building.

I will discourage violence among both the youth and those controlling the resources.

Photo: children from the Teso community playing football