Farm Uganda represented by our team leader Samuel Ahumuza was selected to be part of 40 “Agriprenuer” youth to participate in the YALTA National Youth Caravan 2021 organized in conjunction with PELUM (Participatory Ecological Land Use Management, Uganda from 22nd to 25th March 2021.
YALTA (Youth in Agroecology & Business Learning Track) is an initiative that targets youth in Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda.
It follows a market-based approach and convenes a wide range of stakeholders, from seed distributors to academia and from farmers to policymakers, all sharing a wide range of knowledge and experiences.
This is to push for collective advancement, from identifying the major issues to co-developing solutions.
The national youth caravan is launched on the 22nd March 2021 by the Commissioner Ministry of Gender Labour and Social Development (MoGLDD).
This initiative brings together 40 youth from the 4 greater regions of Uganda both female and male between the ages of 18-35, rural and urban, start-ups, and progressive entrepreneurs in the agri-food sector.
The caravan targets young innovators, marketers, youth leaders who are already passionate and motivated about their businesses and are ready to be change-makers in developing sustainable and scalable agroecological business models.
The caravan was a 5-day learning journey for 40 participants aboard and among the notable farms visited were Kwagala Integrated Farm, St. Jude Family Project, and Gudie Leisure Farm. All these farms are recognized and highly organized farms practicing Agroecological systems.
The experience climaxed into a Youth in Agroecology Symposium in Kampala at Hotel Africana. This brought together stakeholders in Agroecology, academia/learning institutions, Government ministries, agencies and departments, cultural and religious leaders, media, the private sector, and the youth.
Why Agroecology and our underlying lesson
Agroecology is an approach to sustainable farming that “centers on food production that makes the best use of nature’s goods and services while not damaging these resources.”
Farming thrives when it works with local ecosystems, for example, improving soil and plant quality through available biomass and biodiversity, rather than battling nature with chemical inputs.
Agroecological farmers seek to improve food yields for balanced nutrition, strengthen fair markets for their produce, enhance healthy ecosystems, and build on ancestral knowledge and customs. Source: @agroecologyfund
According to the Agroecology fund, Agroecology is recognized as both a mitigation and adaptation strategy for climate change.
Our underlying lesson
As farm Uganda, it was our opportunity to study how we can strike a balance between Agroecology and mechanization. One of the ways in which we can do this is to use minimum tillage tractors.
While tillage can be a critical component in a successful and profitable agro-ecological enterprise, minimizing mechanical operations and soil disturbance in a field can lead to benefits such as reduced soil erosion and associated air and water pollution; decreased fuel expenditures and costs of production, and reduced subsurface soil compaction from tractor passes.
Minimizing machinery passes over the field reduces labor and saves time, limits machinery wear, and conserves fuel. Source: Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Program