By Ali Twaha
The Private Sector Foundation Uganda (PSFU), in partnership with Delight Uganda Limited, has equipped over 6,000 youth with commercial agricultural skills ahead of the construction of a sh17b fruit factory to be set up in Nwoya district.
The 6,000 young men and women are supported under PSFU’s Lead Firm Structure Young Africa Works Project, which aims at transforming the economic livelihoods of individuals.
In 2019, PSFU partnered with the Mastercard Foundation to anchor the Young Africa Works strategy in Uganda. PSFU designed and is currently implementing the lead firm structure for youth employment.
The PSFU chief executive officer, Stephen Asiimwe, said the beneficiaries have gained skills in growing fruits, commercial agriculture, value addition, marketing and managing finances.
Apollo Mbazira, the Lead Firm Structure project director at PSFU, said Delight Uganda plans to construct a fruit factory that will provide several opportunities for the unemployed youth in the district. “PSFU and Mastercard invested over sh1b and we received a co-fuunding from Delight of close to sh1b.
The aim of the project is to increase the production of fruits and citrus within Nwoya,” Mbazira said. The ambition is to build a factory that will process at least three metric tonnes of fruit on a daily basis.
“We have so far succeeded in working with 6,000 young people, who have set up their own fruit farms and each has at least an acre of land with a combination of fruits and different crops. The fruits include mangoes, guavas and citrus. We received a request from Delight to support them in boosting production in anticipation of building a fruit juice-processing factory. They need close to euro 4m (about sh17b) to build the factory,” Mbazira said.
BENEFICIARY SPEAKS OUT
Milly Oroma, 26, one of the direct beneficiaries of this project, testified that the knowledge she attained from the Delight Uganda project has transformed her from a poor single mother into a confident, self-sustaining and productive businesswoman.
“I am now able to take care of myself, pay my child’s school fees, support my parents and live calmly without worrying about what to eat tomorrow. My dream is to become as successful as Dr Julian Adyeeri and create opportunities for the many other youth that are suffering like I used to,” Oroma said.
36 COMPANIES PARTNERSHIP
The Lead Firm Structure Project’s ultimate goal is to create dignified and fulfilling work for young women and men. PSFU is working with close to 36 private sector companies that have currently helped open up at least 90,000 opportunities for youth, according to Mbazira.
Julian Adyeeri, the chief executive officer of Delight Uganda, said the project, which sits on 2sq.m in Anaka, Nwoya district, now supports a community school, fruit and tree nurseries, and cereal plantations, in addition to dormitories, irrigation schemes and silos for storage.
“The hundreds of young women and men that have benefited from this project continue to transform their communities in different ways.
“We nonetheless acknowledge that this is just the start and much more deliberate efforts must be implemented if our country is to achieve total transformation,” Adyeeri said.
Col Charles Okello Engola, the state minister for labour and gender, said: “As the Government, we shall see that this project continues because it is providing a lot of help. It is fulfilling the manifesto of the Government. We can now see the youth occupied with work and are willing to continue with that.”