By Rhyman Agaba
Vision Group has offered to train children in agricultural practices free of charge during this year’s edition of the Harvest Money Expo.
David Mukholi, the managing editor of Vision Group and Harvest Money Expo co-ordinator, said children aged between six and 15 will benefit from the training that will be conducted by fellow children who have practical experience in the agricultural field.
“We have a new product. Beginning with this expo, we are going to train children to excite them about farming. Children from Primary One upwards will get free training and will be taught for one-and-a-half hours,” Mukholi said.
He added: “Unlike adults, children will be trained free of charge. All they have to do is pay an entry fee of sh10,000 each and they can come along with their parents and attend the free lessons.”
Adults will be required to pay sh20,000 as entry fee to the expo to enable them take part in agricultural training sessions that will be facilitated by selected experts.
Mukholi made the remarks during a briefing of the expo trainers at Vision Group’s head offices in Industrial Area, Kampala, on Friday.
The three-day expo will take place at Kololo Independence Grounds from February 10-12. It will run from 8:00am to 6:00pm on each of the days.
This is the 7th edition of the Harvest Money Expo and this year’s edition is anchored on the theme; Farming as a business — Post-harvest handling and value addition.
About 25,000 to 45,000 guests are expected at the expo.
The Vision Group CEO, Don Wanyama, advised the trainers to keep their presentations simple to enhance understanding for the majority in the audience, who may not be well-versed with technical terms.
“The most important aspect of communication is simplicity,” he said, adding; “We had an issue of trainers who were using Luganda in the previous expo and some people could not follow.”
Wanyama said when this happens, it becomes a disservice to those in the attendance. The Vision Group boss assured trainers of a good turnout, saying the company’s events management team was working around the clock to fill all the available seats.
“We don’t want you to talk to empty seats. We’re doing everything possible to fi ll those seats. We are already feeling the energy and the vibe,” Wanyama said.
He advised the trainers to evaluate what people may have understood from their previous trainings.
Wanyama said training is a critical part of the expo, without which a critical mass of the attendees would not turn up.
“You grow by empowering others. We are happy that you are ready to share knowledge with the public and we thank you for your involvement,” he said.
During the launch of the expo on Thursday, Wanyama said agriculture experts will conduct sessions on coffee value addition, passion fruits, poultry, piggery, fish farming, banana growing, goat keeping, urban fish farming, bee keeping, rabbit rearing, mushroom growing and how to add value to milk, fruits and herbs, among others.
This year’s expo is sponsored by the Netherlands Embassy, Champrisa International, Engineering Solutions Limited, Uganda Warehouse Receipting System, National Agricultural Advisory Services, agriculture ministry, Pepsi (Crown Beverages) and UpFrontRiella.
Some of the trainers who attended the briefing included Dr Jolly Kabirizi, the executive director of Kyakuwa Farmlocated in Makindye municipality, Wakiso district.
Kabirizi has been a facilitator at the Harvest Money Expo for four editions of the annual event and her expertise is in animal science and agriculture. Other trainers include Mu-Awiya Mukasa of Kalf Rabbitry and Brian Natwijuka, a beef farmer and animal nutritionist.
Trainers call for more time
Some of the facilitators who attended the brief requested for more time during their presentations, saying they spend majority of their allotted time answering questions from the audience, which limits time for what they had prepared to teach.
Robert Sserwanga, one of the trainers, said the move to train children was welcome as they will be given an opportunity to learn from their peers.
Responding to the request for more time, Mukholi advised the trainers to properly manage their time on stage so as to ensure a smooth flow of the day’s programme.
However, they were promised an additional hour instead of the two hours they usually have to present.
Alice Kangave, another trainer, who is an expert in bee keeping from Nakaseke district, advised fellow trainers to be conscious with the choice of language to use while training farmers.
“You should try to balance the languages used while presenting so as not to leave out anyone in the audience,” Kangave said.