Swisscontact and UNYFA award prizes in farm equipment to winners of the Youth for Food Security competition

Uganda is still facing the challenge of food insecurity due to low levels of mechanisation, post-harvest losses and climate change, among others. In addition, measures due to the pandemic have drastically affected farmers, especially youths, in terms of access to inputs, finances and markets. Food insecurity is a cross-cutting issue for the projects that Swisscontact currently implements in Uganda. In August 2020, Swisscontact partnered with the Young Farmers' Federation of Uganda (UNYFA) to organise the online video competition themed ‘Youth 4 Food Security’.

The Youth for Food Security online competition

The Youth for Food Security competition aimed to promote youth innovations and best practices that ensure the creation of livelihoods in agriculture. To comply with public safety guidelines, the competition took place digitally: contestants sent in a video presenting their innovative farming activities and the public voted for their favourite participant via Facebook. A panel of external judges, experts in food security, then scored the competitors to find the winners.

The challenge recognised the role of the youth in agribusiness and their role in addressing the issue of food insecurity. The aim of the competition was to actively empower youth engaged in farming to increase their production of quality food for their communities. Another goal of the competition was to stimulate innovation among young farmers, which could lead to the creation of agribusiness opportunities through awareness of technologies and formation of networks/market linkages. The winners (1st to 5th place) will be linked to networks in the agribusiness sector, particularly with respect to markets, information and improved visibility.

Supporting youth in agribusiness

Through the U-LEARN project, Swisscontact has been working closely with UNYFA, an umbrella body for young farmers in Uganda, in supporting youth engaged in agribusiness.

Swisscontact also promotes food security in Uganda through projects like ‘’ where we promote the growing of food crops among female and youth in the cocoa-growing households. In the ‘’ and ‘’ projects, food crops were introduced as alternative enterprises to motivate females and young mothers to participate in the project.

Our Programme Manager Moses Gateja explains why Swisscontact supported the Youth4Security competition:

“Swisscontact believes the potential for agribusiness, mainly food security, in Uganda is still untapped and greatly neglected. Agribusiness has the potential to provide young people with opportunities in food production and food security, among others. It also offers opportunities in climate-smart farming methods, as well as post-harvest and processing. U-LEARN, a project implemented by Swisscontact in partnership with Mastercard Foundation is aimed at economically, socially and academically disadvantaged youths aged between 18 and 24 years. U-LEARN targets three broad sectors, namely agri-business, construction and hospitality. While fast-growing, these three sectors still lack the skilled labour forces that would meet demand and enhance growth of food for the communities. It is for this reason that Swisscontact decided to become a co-host of the Youth4food security competition 2020. This year’s online competition in partnership with UNYFA has created much excitement and involvement of young people from across Uganda due to the usage of the technology and mainly showcasing their efforts digitally... The involvement of Swisscontact, along with efforts to widen the participation has meant that for the first time there were more participants and winners representing the Central, Eastern, Northern and Western Regions. The challenge has also demonstrated that while the agricultural sector - which employs over 70% of Uganda’s population - is perceived as unattractive by young people, challenges such as this one, along with the rewards offered, have great potential to streamline production and productivity.”

The winner

Buwule Nehemiah Kamya is a young Farmer from Zirobwe in Luwero District. His farm, The Farmacy, is a fruit and vegetable farm that is set on 5.5 acres of land. At his farm, he offers agribusiness advisory services and due to the many fruit and vegetable varieties on his farm, he has set up agrotourism as a service on his farm. The Covid-19 pandemic caused Nehemiah to venture into highly marketable and less perishable varieties to promote food security. He is able to deliver his products from his farm both to the market and directly to clients.  Nehemiah's dream is to inspire youth and young farmers to consider doing agriculture as a business. After winning UGX 5,000,000 (CHF 1,230) worth of farm equipment, he plans to increase the level of innovation on his farm.