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One Million Youth Targeted For Commercial Farming By 2030

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By Aloysious Kasoma

Over one million people will join the commercial value chain of agriculture by the year 2030 if they access funds and other support through digital financial platforms.

Laban Joshua Musinguzi, the President Youth Coalition for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said many youth in agriculture have no access to collateral security which discourages many to ply into agriculture.

He was speaking at the Media Consultive Meeting held on Monday, in Kololo ahead of the 1st National Empowerment & Development in Commercial Agriculture Conference 2022 slated to take place at Nakawa on the 8th and 9th of December 2022.

“If the youths come together as a block, they will access funds. Right now, we have very few farmers so we should put incentives, we want to put people together such that in the future, we raise close to one million people doing commercial agriculture,” he said.

Musinguzi said that working with the Bank of Uganda and Yo Uganda, a digital platform that leverages Mobile Money, SMS, and Unstructured Supplementary Services Data (USSD), will attract numbers to join commercial agriculture

“There are people who can’t access machinery but if they come together as SACCOs, they can access money as much as less than Sh1.5b. The coalition has since mobilized over 300 youths and is expected to attract more,” he added.

Youth Coalition for SDGs is an initiative composed of youth-led organizations /Companies from around the countries which are working towards accelerating the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Lawrence Totimeh, the Head of Business and Service Delivery at Yo Uganda, said despite the challenges in the digital penetration in the rural areas across the country, the Yo Pay Agricultural solutions platform has agents who directly work with the farmers.

“The system connects to the agriculture value chain, the end user farmer doesn’t require to access the service. We have not less than 10 digital champions or agents whom we are connected to and empowered with smartphones,” he said.

Phiona Naigaga the Agriculture Credit Facility (ACF) Analyst at Bank of Uganda said that the central bank intervened by reducing the agricultural interest rates from 22% to 12% per annum and extending the maximum loan period to 8 years.

Naigaga also added that the central bank is still working with commercial banks to solve the problem of funding, especially in the value chain category.

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