Despite the challenges and limitations involved engaging in soilless farming, there are still prospects for young people to explore the soilless farming space.
For remarkable progress to happen in the agricultural sector, there is need for a transition into a more technological advanced and sustainable farming system. This can be achieved through collaboration of different stakeholders in the sector who are willing to invest the adequate resources required as this is a huge investment.
The government – in its bid to diversify the economy and re-focus on the non-oil sector should create an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
This can be achieved by ensuring agri-friendly policies which will ensure that bottlenecks and bureaucracies that frustrate prospective investors are removed. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, a fundamental premise for delivering sustainable food and agriculture is the creation of an enabling policy environment and the need for sectoral ministries to change the way they work and coordinate policies across government. In addition, infrastructural development such as electricity and means of transporting farm produce should be worked on. Uganda can tap into the large scale investment in renewable energies as a means to produce electricity for businesses and individuals.
Private investors – can get involved in this sector can invest funds to start up or scale up farms already practicing. This can be done through venture capitals and agricultural incubation hubs to ensure that funds available go to the right people. The private sector can further support in the provision of grants and loans; which is already happening but on a small scale. Also, private manufacturers can get involved by locally producing or fabricating equipment required for farming. This will reduce cost of importing and also create jobs for local manufacturers.
Non-profit sector – can provide donor support by collaborating with government and private sectors in the building and transfer of skills and knowledge. Also, they can be involved in up-scaling innovation, supporting research and development, advocate for suitable agricultural policies, and ensure collaboration among stakeholder.
Opportunities for youth groups within the soilless farming value chain
· More jobs can be created directly or indirectly in training and capacity building, sales of input, farm production, farm support, facility maintenance, research and development.
· This farming system will make agriculture more youth friendly, less dependent on weather, more healthy food growth, increased economic gain which will lead to more jobs available and most of all improving livelihoods for farmers.
Uganda is a country currently facing the effect of climate change. Desertification, land degradation, flood, erosion among other natural disasters are affecting the yield and productivity of farmers who make up the bulk of the population; hence decreasing the income of farmers and negatively affecting their livelihood.
To ensure food security, it is important that collaborative effort is made by all stakeholders to ensure that the future of farming is protected. Soilless farming is the future for agricultural revolution and youth inclusion in farming for Uganda.