Thursday, June 20, 2024
Home Change Makers Akampwera Fights Unemployment Using Agriculture

Akampwera Fights Unemployment Using Agriculture

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Hope Mafaranga

Godfrey Akampwera, 23, a student at Ibanda Farm Institute, has never looked back since he discovered that agriculture was the most sure way to fight unemployment among the youth.

The agricultural production student, now in his final year, went to the institute expecting to gain qualifications to look for a job after studying. Today, he already has one.

Starting poultry

Akampwera’s good fortune is pegged to the institute’s collaboration with the AVSI Foundation, which carried out the Skilling in Agripreneurship for Increased Youth Employment (SAY) project, supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

“The SAY project propelled my journey to becoming a businessman,” he reveals.

Akampwera was among the 280 youth who were skilled in poultry, nursery bed management, tree management, banana propagation and management, and horticulture at Ibanda Farm Institute.

He reveals that the SAY project gave him a huge start-up package that included 200 chicks, shelter, feeders and drinkers to support his launch.

“I sold the birds at sh20,000 each, earning me close to sh4m. I have used the money to stock birds,” he said.

Achievements

Akampwera has a steady market in Ibanda town, where he is assured of supplying 40 birds to hotels each day. He said out of the profit, he bought a motorcycle to aid him in his marketing efforts.

“I never imagined that I would be earning a lot before I completed my studies. I have a job and I will not be looking for one after completing my course,” he said.

Plans

Akampwera plans to buy land in Ibanda town and build a poultry house.

“I am aware that after completing school, I will not be able to use the school facilities. In order for me not to lose my market and business, I plan to buy land in Ibanda town and construct my own facility,” he said.

Starting a saving scheme

Josephat Bainemugisha, the principal of Ibanda Farm Institute, says students in the SAY project made the decision to establish a savings scheme with guidance from them in order to access affordable loans.

“They established the Earn-As-You-Learn Students’ Savings Scheme, which assists them in obtaining small loans to expand and enhance their businesses. Members are currently saving sh20,000 every week and their bank accounts presently hold more than sh3.5m,” he said.

Project impact

In 2017, Ibanda Farm Institute had an enrolment of 47 students, but the number continued to rise when the AVSI Foundation partnered with them. Today, it has risen to 305 students.

Julius Turyahebwa, the team leader at the AVSI Foundation Mbarara field office, said through a collaboration with 60 local agribusinesses and institutions of learning, the project stimulates the practice of agriculture, builds young agriprenuers for a long-term career path or key economic ventures.

Turyahebwa said they are working with nine districts including Mbarara, Isingiro, Kazo, Ibanda, Kiruhura, Bushenyi, Ntungamo, Kabale and Rubanda.

Motivation

“To engage in farming as a business, you require certain abilities. Young people need to adopt a different perspective and choose the correct business ventures that will allow them to make money. With job opportunities for youth in Uganda still inadequate, it’s crucial that young people create their own jobs,” he said.

One of Akampwera’s main challenges is the high cost of feed for his chickens. But in order to save money, he plans to mix feeds on his farm and sell them to other poultry farmers to increase his earnings.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Akampwera displaying his chicken

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