‘Technology catalyst to attract youths in livestock, fisheries sector’

THE Minister for Livestock and Fisheries, Abdallah Ulega, on Monday said that technology could be the needed catalyst to attract more youths to engage in agricultural activities such as livestock keeping and fishery.

Minister Ulega thus said that there is a need to continue increasing and improving the application of technology in livestock keeping and fishery ventures as a starting point so that many youths take interest in the sector.

The minister was speaking during the launch of AYuTe Africa Challenge, an initiative by Heifer Project International, which is being implemented by Sahara Ventures. The initiative seeks to award cash grants to support promising young agritech innovators in the country who use technology to reimagine farming and food production.

“We understand that it is not true that many young people do not want to make a living by engaging in agricultural activities, the only setback for them is just that they do not find it attractive.  They also do not have access to capital and most importantly, they have no knowledge of available markets,” he pointed out.

Hence, he encouraged them to make the most of it by applying technology that is coming up with innovations to guarantee them market.

The minister also said that government has set aside over 4bn/- as capital, to help young people engaged in livestock keeping and fishing. AYuTe Africa Challenge stands for Agriculture, Youth, and Technology.

Speaking during the launch, Heifer Project International Country Programme Director, Mark Tsoxo, said the organisation has been working to support youths in agriculture in Africa with the aim of ending hunger.

“A new report on the role of youths in agriculture from Heifer International identifies additional challenges preventing youths from fully engaging in farming, most notably lack of financing, land, markets, and training,” said Tsoxo.

He added that the problem of unemployment would have been greatly reduced if the youth would have engaged in agricultural activities, noting that 31 per cent of the country’s population are young people between 15 and 35 years of age and they need to be motivated to take up farming.

The initiative that was launched yesterday is national competition, which calls for innovators to submit applications that will ultimately provide solutions to challenges in the agriculture value chain through the use of technology.

Tsoxo said that the innovator who would come up with the best idea will walk away with a grand prize of 20m/-, the second winner will bag 12m/-, and the third winner will be awarded 8m/-.

Each year, the organisation invests more than US$1.5 million to accelerate digital agriculture entrepreneurship in Africa. In 2022, the AYuTe Africa Challenge expanded its role as an African agritech accelerator by offering new national competitions in Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda.

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