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  • David Oming

Youth Can Transform Uganda’s Food Systems through Agroecology

Over 78% of Uganda’s population is below the age of 30 and the country has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Sub-Saharan Africa. Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our time that affects agricultural production and derails the capacities of the young generation from effective and efficient production as a result of vulnerabilities like changing rainfall patterns, loss of biodiversity, water scarcity and quality, increased vulnerability, and health impacts. However, agriculture provides opportunities for youth to engage in entrepreneurship and innovation for increased production and productivity through agroecology. Agroecology is the most environmentally sustainable and climate-friendly approach and is key to achieving most of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Agroecology contributes to building resilient farming systems that are better equipped to withstand climate change impacts, and youth involvement in agroecology contributes to climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.

On 12th August 2023, in commemoration of International Youth Day, ESAFF Uganda brought together youth under ESAFF Uganda Youth Chapter and Youth Collective from all the regions of Uganda in a webinar to discuss the role of young people in leading the transition to Agroecology. Youth discussed their roles in addressing the current climate crisis in achieving climate justice and sustainable food systems.

According to the National Chairperson of ESAFF Uganda, Mr. Baliraine Hakim noted that ESAFF Uganda is embracing activities to recognize green technologies geared towards building the capacities of youth to ensure the transitioning to Agroecology and achieving climate justice by all. “We have prioritized the training of youth in fostering agroecological practices in our work” Mr. Hakim added.

During the webinar, youth presented limitations in achieving climate justice including limited access to land most especially women youth, limited access to modern farming technologies, inadequate training given to youth, and limited access to finance and credit by youth especially women as a result of lack of possession of collateral securities. “Youth are not given the opportunities to own land like other people due to cultural norms and other issues” Mr. Anyanzo David added.

Mr. Okello Moses, Chairperson of ESAFF Apac district and a youth farmer noted that youth needs to be committed and be consistent advocates and practitioners, working towards a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future. He added that through Agroecology, youth in Northern Uganda are achieving improved livelihoods and conserving the environment for the future generation.

Ms. Catherine Nambi said that there should be more engagement with the media so that journalists create awareness about Agroecology when they have the knowledge as Agroecology is underreported. “Youth should engage with the media in leading the transition to Agroecology”. Ms. Nambi stressed

According to Brenda Iwala, youth need to adopt agroforestry and poly cropping practices in transitioning farming communities to Agroecology. There should be community barazas to sensitize youth and farming communities on the importance of Agroecology. In leading the transition to agroecology, youth should be advised to reduce, reuse, repair, and recycle local products.

In conclusion, therefore, the webinar attested that youth play a pivotal role in transitioning to Agroecology, contributing to a more sustainable, resilient, and equitable agricultural food system as agroecology focuses on integrating ecological principles and social values into agricultural practices, promoting biodiversity, soil health, and resilient communities. Engaging youth in this transition is essential for building a more environmentally friendly and socially just food system.



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