The Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of Special Operations, Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, says he has been inspired to practice commercial agriculture after visiting Robert Kabushenga’s farm in Namayumba, Wakiso District.
The Vision Group boss boasts a banana plantation that sits on 18 acres while the coffee farm runs on 50 acres.
Gen Kainerugaba whom Kabushenga took on a tour of the gigantic farm, said: “This is an activity that we should all engage in because we have all seen from Mr Kabushenga’s farm that it can be of huge monetary benefits.”
He said, farming is not an activity that should be looked down upon and I encourage many people to follow suit because Kabushenga is making millions of shillings from bananas, coffee, beehives.
He urged youth to invest resources and time in commercial agriculture to create wealth and jobs.
Kabushenga has in recent years supported farmers across the country by connecting them with established farmers in developed countries.
The New Vision also publishes dedicated magazines to help farmers access import information of modern agricultural practices.
Muhoozi’s widely-publicized tour is expected to encourage young people, majority of whom are jobless, to embrace agriculture.
The Special Forces operator described the tour as “very educational” and praised Kabushenga for the “great work on his farm.”
Agriculture contributes 25 percent of national GDP and employs 70 percent of the population.
The sector provides great avenues for economic growth and economic inclusion, particularly from women and youth.
But the sector has grown very slowly. Over the last five years, Uganda’s population has grown 3.3% per annum while output in agriculture has grown at only 2 percent per annum. In comparison, other East African countries have had up to 5 percent annual output growth in agriculture.
Some of the challenges faced by potential farmers include unpredictable weather patterns, soil erosion, lack of capital, poor infrastructure and small markets.
However, there is great potential for faster growth because more cropland has opened up, peace in previous conflict areas means more people can farm and Uganda got a new independent trading partner in South Sudan.
Muhoozi’s visit of Kabushenga’s farm comes hardly a year after a World Bank report, titled, ‘Closing the Potential-Performance Divide in Ugandan Agriculture’ revealed that youth are not attracted to agriculture.
“A survey among young Ugandans from both urban and rural areas revealed that youths are very entrepreneurial, with the majority aspiring to start their own business rather than pursuing careers in teaching, medicine or engineering. Although agriculture is one of the leading sectors in Uganda, only 12% of survey respondents wanted to become farmers (Aga Khan University 2016),” said World Bank in a report published in June 2018.
“Food value chains beyond the farm provide substantial opportunities for entrepreneurship and good jobs with a bright future for career development,” it added.
Muhoozi said Kabushenga “is now an example of a successful commercial farmer. A lot of young farmers can learn from him.”