The pressure is on in Uganda to get more youth and women involved in the coffee value chain, starting with farming by using smarter agronomy practices, as the country looks to increase production to an ambitious 20 million bags by 2025.
But in the race to get there, Uganda’s path is littered with hurdles, the first of which is that of an ageing workforce on the farms. The average age of a coffee farmer is 60 years, according to the 2015 Sustainability of the Coffee Sector in Africa report by the International Coffee Organisation.
This is in spite of over 80 per cent of Uganda’s population still being under the age of 30 years while the country’s median age is in the teen years.
“Youth exodus to urban areas has created a shortage of labour because the old people do not have the energy to farm,” said the executive director of Uganda Coffee Farmers Alliance Tony Mugoya.
For now, most young people who are engaged in the coffee sector prefer the tail end of the value chain, doing jobs like marketing, branding and brewing of the beverage, rather than work that requires them to get their hands dirty to produce the coffee in the first place.
“We have not done enough to involve the youth; we need to fully empower them. As they come in, they should learn how the entire coffee value chain work since they need relevant skills to take coffee production to another level” (Source: Trade Mark East Africa/ The East African)
As a response to this challenge several Coffee Youth Initatives have been started by various stakeholders in the sector.
We will have presentations from e.g.Café Africa, Kyagalanyi, Ugacof, HRNS, YLA and Nucafe as well as youth stories and experiences from the field, alternated with videos, and thematic group sessions around themes such as Resources (financial, knowledge), Communication / social media use / marketing, Communication between youth & company, Expectations of youth, Gender, Education levels, Access to land and sustainability of the programmes.
Objective of workshop
Share lessons learned from the various youth initiatives that are currently ongoing in the coffee sector (+ possibly some other youth initiatives in the agriculture sector at large) and jointly identify what works and what doesn’t work. Identify what went well so that processes and techniques can be replicated Identify what didn’t go well so that other projects or future initiatives don’t make the same mistakes.
8.30 Welcome & Coffee
9.15 Youth Initiatives presentations
10.15 Field Stories from youth
11.15 Youth Initiatives cont.
12.15 Field Stories
12.45 Lunch and video
14.00 Marula research findings
14.30 Thematic breakout groups
16.00 Groupwork Do’s and Don’ts
17.00 Wrap up
17.30 Networking drinks + presentation of illustrations