On Friday, September 2, the Feed the Future Uganda Inclusive Agricultural Markets (FtF IAM) Activity held another dialogue in Abim district, aiming to amplify the role of women and youth in fostering the sustainability of food security in the Karamoja sub-region. The dialogue was attended by youth and women farmers and entrepreneurs in Karamoja, coupled with other key stakeholders including, the Senior Culture Officer of the Ministry of Gender Labor and Social Development, the District Commercial Officer, women and youth group leaders, the Cultural leaders and elders as well as other development partners like World Food Programme who discussed the key unique constraints affecting the meaningful participation of women and youth in enhancing food security. During the event, participants discussed strategies for engaging women and youth in sustainable food security in the Karamoja sub-region. Through the signing of a commitment declaration board, the key stakeholders comprising of the political and technical leaders, development partners, and the private sector actors of Karamoja pledged to promote societal practices that enhance the active participation of women and youth in food security. They also committed to advocating for and improving infrastructure to facilitate market access for women and youth in Karamoja. The participants further, promised to develop and implement inclusive mechanization approaches to increase farmer productivity. This was the second dialogue conducted by FtF IAM as part of the Activity’s contribution to the Karamoja Cultural festival that ran from August 30, to September 3.
Engaging young women and men in an agricultural sector like Karamoja characterized by an aging labor force is crucial to ensuring sustainable food security, reducing youth unemployment, and combating unplanned migration. By harnessing youth and women’s innovative potential, utilizing modern technologies and techniques, and taking advantage of new opportunities in emerging value chains, young agri-entrepreneurs could create thriving businesses and tackle the challenge of feeding a growing population. However, youth and women are often unable to carry out the investments needed to ensure that their farming or processing activities can be successfully launched or expanded. Conversely, neither may they be able to benefit from opportunities in agricultural supply chains provided by larger-scale investors.
“There is a noticeable drop in food stock within Karamoja. We have an opportunity to increase production by skilling the youth and women to take on market-based production. We also need to think about strategies of achieving value addition.”
Lokinomoe Joseph, Community Development Officer Abim District. Food Security Dialogue on the Role of Women and Youth 2022.