Farm Project – Kaweri

Location:   Uganda

Project Overview
Context

Uganda has one of the youngest and fastest growing populations worldwide, with about half of the people being under the age of 15. As a result, it faces significant challenges in meeting the needs of its youth, who are severely affected by poverty, inadequate education and skills, and limited work opportunities. According to the latest census, youth constitute 80% of the country´s unemployed.

It is increasingly recognized that professional agriculture has an enormous potential to generate income and drive economic growth in Uganda. However, opportunities for youth are limited. They often lack access to land, technical skills as well as knowledge on coping with climate change effects.

The main objective of the project is to change the negative perspective of rural youth in Uganda towards agriculture by training and exposing them to improved and innovative agricultural practices combined with a gender household approach, which promotes equal opportunities for young women and men.

Approach

In partnership with the NKG Kaweri Coffee Plantation, the project is targeting 120 early school dropouts aged between 15 and 25 from neighboring communities in Mubende District, a central region of Uganda. These youths are the most vulnerable and affected in their area; they lack skills, experience and focus, are not productive and are barely surviving by carrying out occasional and irregular work. The aim of the project is to support them in becoming young farmers that can make a living through the adoption of climate change-resilient and good agricultural practices as well as the application of basic financial and business skills.

The project has established two Agricultural Training Centers (ATCs) that can host 30 youth each, annually. In training cycles of twelve months, participating youth are receiving both theoretical and practical training, covering a broad range of topics including agricultural skills, financial literacy, and gender aspects. Each ATC holds trainings twice a week and the practical sessions take place on so-called demonstration plots with crops (food and cash crops) that are selected and managed by the youth themselves. As coffee is one of the main cash crops in the District, demonstration plots also have a number of mature coffee trees that the youth earn taking care of. Tools and inputs are being provided by the project; however, proceeds from the sale of crops are re-invested into the centers.

As most adults do not trust youth regarding their skills and intentions, they are often reluctant to share resources with them. Through this project, parents are being addressed and sensitized to change their negative attitude. On field days, parents/guardians can visit the ATC plots and see the application of more advanced agricultural techniques and of high yielding crops. This enhances their respect and credibility towards youth and their willingness to make land available to them.

Achievements

  • A first batch of 60 students has successfully graduated from the one-year course.
  • Youths’ attitude towards agriculture has dramatically changed; the exit assessment indicates that all youth have now chosen to remain in agriculture.
  • 80% of youth reported that they are now involved in agriculture and have started earning a living from it.
  • 65% have been lent land by their parents in order to start producing and earning.
  • 23% of the participating youths have acquired their own land.
  • 70% have reported to have become role models in their communities and are mentoring other youth.
  • 95% youth reported that they have benefited from social skills training as this has increased their confidence in their communities.

Youth participants harvesting quality and standard coffee cherries

Youth participants weeding beans on demonstration plot

A trainer at the Agricultural Training Center demonstrating a resource-efficient way of growing onions