HomeAGRICULTUREProf. Ariho Encourages Young Generation to Embrace Farming.

Prof. Ariho Encourages Young Generation to Embrace Farming.

By. Joshua Nahamya,

6th Sept 2021,

Mbarara

The future of the country depends on agriculture but unfortunately, the sector seems to be threatened for not attracting the young energetic force.

To attract the young generation, Excel Hort Consult, an agribusiness incubation hub two years back started a mentor, mentee match, and mix an event that happens at Excel home in Biharwe, Mbarara City every Friday of the end of the month.

Speaking to Prof. Alex Ariho, the executive director, Excel Hort Consult, an agribusiness incubation hub, said that he started the mentor, mentee match, and mix as one of the innovative ways to attract the young generation to agriculture.

Ariho said telling the youth to embrace farming in the same old style cannot attract them to this sector.

“The future of the country depends on agriculture but also this requires attracting young talent who are prepared to take risks. The world has been evolving but unfortunately the way agriculture is being carried out remains almost the same way our grandfathers did it over a decade ago,” Professor Ariho said.

He added that he started a mentor, mentee match, and mix, an innovative way where the young generation interacts freely with senior professionals in a fun –flexible manner.

Ariho said Mentor, Mentee match, and the mix is a type of skilling but themed in a way of fun.

“Mentor, Mentee match and mix is an event that happens here every last Friday of every month. It’s where the young generation (mentees) bring in curiosity and energy and adults (mentors) bring in expertise and life experience. Here we bring in different mentors to interact and enjoy with the youth (mentees). At Excel Hort Consult we have a number of projects to include agriculture museum, crop and livestock projects, artisanal center, arts and craft among others,” said Ariho

He said as the young generations are taken through these by selected mentors most times professionals and influencers,

“When teachers (now this time mentors) use activities that make learning and fun, the young generation are willing to participate and learning while having fun helps this young generation to retain information because it becomes enjoyable and memorable,” he explained, before adding that the young people will have no fear of trying out anything as long as they perceive it as fun and enjoyable.

“Since this Mentor, Mentee match and mix programme, we have heard testimonies of many young people starting their own agri-business projects and also becoming role models to colleagues who were at first unconvinced about farming, and have started replicating their colleagues,” he added.

Professor Charles Kwesiga, the executive director of Uganda Industrial Research Institute one of the mentors that have interacted with the youth during one of the events said without innovative ways to bring young people to appreciate farming the country‘s economic future remains threatened.

“The country is likely to lose inspiring and transformational talents if it can’t find innovative ways to change mindset to entice the young people to farming. The economy will be threatened, and this innovation of mentor, mentee match and mix remain appealing in passing on skills to the young generation,” said Professor Kwesiga.

 FAO country director Mr. Antonio Querindo also says farming has to change from the same old style to attract the younger generation.

“These are some of the innovations we are going to support if the country and the whole world has to be food secure. The youth need to be attracted and appreciate the agricultural sector as a viable sector for social-economic transformation,” explained Mr. Querindo during his interaction with the youth at the center in June this year.

 the President of Uganda National Youth in Agriculture and Agribusiness Mr. Clinton Oyesigye one of the beneficiaries of the mentor, mentee match, and mix said not many young people see agriculture as a viable sector for transformation.

“Not many youths see agriculture as a viable sector to transform them and have abandoned farming to the old, poor people and many including graduates have gone into petty trade and business-like riding boda bodas, we need innovations like Mentor, Mentee match and mix get more youth in agriculture,”

He added that even the youth who take agriculture in schools do it as a subject just to pass exams but not as a profitable future venture.

“Even in some schools the young people are driven into school farms as a punishment which ends up inculcating a very negative view to agriculture,” he added.

He said through the partnership with excel they have been able to bring over 100 youth to the mentor, mentee match, and mix, and that most of these have started some agribusiness projects at their homes.

Ms. Grace Bazitire, the skills and talent development manager at Excel Hort Consult explained that under this innovation mentees (trainees) internalize skills easily

Bazitire added that agriculture, it’s the only way to success and the development lane for Uganda.

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