UGANDA: ENGINEER FINDS THE “MAGIC BULLET” TO END POVERTY AMONG YOUTHS THROUGH SMALL SCALE FARMING

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Engineer Moses Onono, measuring the giant lira (melia) tree which is only eight years old but already big enough for timber.

“I wanted very much to commit suicide because I saw no value in life after losing both parents and dropping out of school. I was only saved by a Good Samaritan who forcefully took away the poison from my hands before I could take it”

 “I was persuaded by my local leaders to come to Homa Farm for training on how I can utilize our vast land to earn a living instead of contemplating suicide. I have now abandoned the previous idea of committing suicide. I want to go back home and concentrate in water melon farming as an enterprise”

“If an acre to a young person can bring 20 million shillings, then we have found the “magic bullet” in employing youths. If agriculture can make you live your dream life, then youths will look to agriculture instead of looking for employment elsewhere”

GULU-UGANDA:Eighteen-year old Akello Brenda thought of committing suicide after she dropped out of Oguru Primary School in Awach Sub-county, Gulu district because there was no one to pay her school fees. She lost her mother in 2008 and her father in 2014.

“I wanted very much to commit suicide because I saw no value in life after losing both parents and dropping out of school. I was only saved by a Good Samaritan who forcefully took away the poison from my hands before I could take it”, recalls Akello.

However, she has had a change of heart after she joined Homa Farm Limited Training Hub on May 15, 2017 where she is receiving new skills and knowledge on how she can actually earn up to 20 million Uganda shillings ($5530dollars) from an acre of land if one chooses the right enterprise at the right time (season).

“I was persuaded by my local leaders to come to Homa Farm for training on how I can utilize our vast land to earn a living instead of contemplating suicide. I have now abandoned the previous idea of committing suicide. I want to go back home and concentrate in water melon farming as my enterprise” says Akello.

Homa Farm Limited is the brain child of a young engineer, Moses Onono, who had to abandon his government job in favor of farming because he could not make ends meet through government work. Homa Farm Limited is located forty kilometers east of Gulu the Provincial Capital of northern Uganda.

The vision of Homa Farm Limited is to operate and run a family based and sustainable agri-business that provides solid returns for both land owners and its operational costs so that future generations can continue farming.

Its mission is to improve the development of farmers and land owners in northern Uganda by training, improving products and services on sustainable and profitable way.

“We had over thirty relatives in my home during the war in northern Uganda and we could not make ends meet. We wanted to offer opportunities to our relatives whom we knew would be a challenge if we didn’t transform them. Some of them have graduated now and we now have no conflict over our land”, says Engineer Moses Onono.

Currently, there are ninety students at the farm who are being sponsored by Master Card Foundation, a Canadian firm, for a five-month on-job training costing 750,000 Uganda shillings ($207 dollars) per student.

Homa farm divides an acre of land to twenty-two students where each student is taught on the best practice of planting a crop of his or her choice which will earn them a maximum of one million shillings ($276 dollars) over the period of five months.

Akello chose to plant water melon on her piece of land and she expects to earn 500,000 shillings ($138 dollars) during her stay at Homa farm.

Each student who passes through Foma farm take home 70% (percent) of the proceeds from the sale of his or her crop while Homa farm retains 30% (percent) which it uses to help new students.

“If an acre to a young person can bring 20 million shillings, then we have found the “magic bullet” in employing youths. If agriculture can make you live your dream life, then youths will look to agriculture instead of looking for employment elsewhere”, says engineer Onono.

 

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