The “Build the Future” (or Ger Anyim) Youth Association in Ayer Town Council, Kole District has set up profitable youth-led agriculture and agro forestry businesses to mitigate the effects of climate change and promote adaptation strategies.
Working in partnership with the Mastercard Foundation and Youth Alive and Reproductive Health Uganda, NCBA CLUSA is helping youth in Uganda form youth associations to facilitate training, access to finance and business incubation through the Youth Empowerment Through Agriculture Project (YETA). Some of these groups are moving forward to become formalized co-ops.
After training in agro-entrepreneurship, the group from Ayer Town chose goat rearing as their group business. Each youth association works with a mentor on an incubation business as part of a practical training. Many of these initial incubation businesses become fully-fledged group income activities including Ger Anyim Youth Association’s herd, which now include 17 goats. However, the Ger Anyim members also strategically chose a secondary agro-forestry enterprise to mitigate climate change as well as raise income for themselves more quickly.
So far they have raised over 92,000 seedlings that will be sold at a minimum of UGX 400 ($ 0.11) each. With this business planning, the Ger Anyim members are expecting over UGX 36,800,000 ($10,514 USD) in revenue from this project, which they plan to use to expand their group farm. When all the seedlings are planted in the community, the forest cover will increase, influencing rainfall patterns and reducing the long dry spells the community currently faces.
With a membership of 38 young people, Ger Anyim Youth Association is currently encouraging other youth in their region to form groups and get engaged in agricultural business as one way of promoting jobs in the community.
To date, 30 members have already planted 100 seedlings each.
The youth association secretary, Patrick Otim, says this kind of innovation will not only increase forest cover but will minimize loss of top soil due to erosion during rainy seasons, thereby helping to conserve the environment. This initiative will also bring services nearer to the people as well as provide employment opportunities for their peers.
Addressing a need in the community, young people in Uganda have developed a business strategy that not only supports their work, but will support other community farms and spread solutions to agricultural challenges.