Young women proving themselves on Ugandan farms

Coastweek — “Young women can have a positive influence on ensuring commercial farms don’t waste money or resources and ensure our environment is cared for in a responsible manner” – so says Rebecca Kate Spencer, Executive Director of the Youth Empowerment Training Center (YET) in Uganda.

She adds: “We have so far graduated 15 young women as tractor operators, of which over 75% have already been employed. We plan to train and get employed another 108 youngsters in the next year and a half.

“We are registering males as well as girls but women have the majority of places on our courses, not only because young women need empowering but also because they are much kinder and responsible with the big agricultural machinery!”

Rebecca will be one of the inspirational speakers during the upcoming Agribusiness Congress East Africa in Kampala from 29-30 November, presenting a case study on:

“Developing a fresh workforce through women and youth empowerment programmes for commercial activities”.

Some 150 agri experts are expected to gather for the fourth edition of Agribusiness Congress East Africa hosted by The Grain Council of Uganda in Kampala. It is the first time that this regional event is taking place in Uganda.

More experts on the conference programme include:

“East Africa, Uganda in particular, may not manufacture aeroplanes but will produce food to feed the world. Just give us a chance. Currently I am excited about value addition on coffee. Some coffee exporting companies have started to roast coffee, mill and pack in branded packs. Great Lakes Coffee Ltd has excited me of late because it has set up a coffee lab and trains young youths to be coffee barristers.” – Valentine Ogwang, Deputy Director, Uganda Investment Authority (UIA).  During Agribusiness Congress East Africa, Mr Ogwang is chairing a session on ‘Uganda: Planting investment opportunities for commercial agricultural practices’.

“Land tenure and affordable finance are the major challenges to expanding and developing the agri sector. Current interest rates put enormous stress agribusiness and are often prohibitive. We need to look at novel ways to finance the agri sector, and get around using land as collateral.” – Jon McLea, Director, Agricona, who will address the conference on ‘Doing agribusiness in Uganda: Opportunities for project developments, partnerships and joint ventures’.

“The constitution and formation of the Grain Council of Uganda is a success story that has enabled the players in the agri sector to fight and address some of the challenges.” – Robert Mwanje, Vice Chairman, Director, Tonga Investments, Uganda, who will chair a session on ‘Maximising yields with modern practices’.

Agribusiness Congress East Africa is a regional platform for discussions and knowledge sharing, to address those pertinent issues which are preventing the East African agricultural industry from truly flourishing as a global agribusiness hub. 

The Conference is to be held on 29-30 November 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel, Kampala, Uganda.

The event enjoys wide support from the local and regional farming sector, including the Grain Council of Uganda (TGCU), National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO), Uganda Investment Authority (UIA), Uganda National Farmers Federation (UNFFE), Uganda Seed Trade Association (USTA) and Agricona.

Well-known agri suppliers including Engsol, Tafe, Mascor, John Deere, Chief Industries, Seed-Co, Feil and Bukoola have already signed up as event sponsors.

Agribusiness Congress East Africa will offer market access to more than 200 million people through Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan.

Agriculture accounts for almost 30% of GDP in East African countries while staple foods represent 75% of total agricultural products traded. Agriculture employs more than 60% of the population in the region.

The event is organised by Spintelligent, a well-known trade conference and expo organiser on the continent, with particular expertise and experience in energy, infrastructure and agricultural development events; including the long-running flagship shows such as Agritech Expo Zambia, the East African Power Industry Convention in Nairobi and African Utility Week in Cape Town.

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