Jinja: The National Agriculture Education Show was officially launched today at the Source of Nile Show Ground in Jinja City. Organized by the Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE) in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Sports and the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, the initiative aims to promote, attract, and retain young people in agriculture.
Under the theme “Empowering Young Agri-prenuers,” the education show has attracted thousands of schools, colleges, and universities from across Uganda. The goal is to equip the youth with modern farming techniques and empower them to become job creators in the agricultural sector after completing their studies.
Hon. Frederick Bwino Kyakulaga, the state minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries, presided over the official opening of the six-day education show, which will run until July 15. In his address on behalf of the Minister of Education, he commended UNFFE for their efforts in ensuring the success of this educational initiative. He emphasized the potential economic impact that agriculture projects can have on the young population.
Hon. Bwino highlighted the new secondary curriculum that emphasizes skills development, stating that even students who drop out of school can utilize the knowledge gained to embark on projects that enable them to earn a living. He further mentioned the Ministry of Agriculture’s program called Agricultural Mobilization and Education, which aims to equip the farming community with skills in various areas, including livestock and agriculture.
The Minister acknowledged the importance of involving young people and praised UNFFE for creating a platform that brings together both the elder farming community and the youth. He suggested that the Ministry of Education and Sports draft a circular requiring all schools to participate in this annual agricultural education show. He also proposed the implementation of regional shows for students, considering the vast number of schools across the country.
Apart from agricultural exhibitions, the education show includes activities such as debates, school quizzes, and symposiums covering various topics. Minister Bwino commended these initiatives, as they help learners sharpen their speaking and research skills while gaining confidence in addressing people.
Representing the Minister for Higher Education, John Chrizostom Muyingo, George Mutekanga praised UNFFE for allowing student participation in the initiative and commended higher education institutions for embracing the importance of agriculture. He emphasized the need for vocational studies through the Directorate of Industrial Training (DIT) to professionalize the skills of individuals engaged in agriculture.
Mutekanga advocated for agriculture to be made a compulsory subject in schools, similar to other subjects, as it plays a significant role in Uganda’s economy. He emphasized that one cannot convincingly argue that agriculture is the backbone of the country while it remains an optional subject in schools.
Dr. Dick Kamuganga, the President of UNFFE, highlighted the fact that the agriculture sector employs 80% of Uganda’s population. He called on all government agencies to actively participate in the event, recognizing it as a national platform for agricultural transformation.