One Farmer’s Departure from Farming Norms Brings Him Pride

Everywhere in the world today, innovation is the buzz world. If the News-Hapa citizen reporters are good examples, rural Ugandans are as switched on about this hunger for innovation as the rest of the world. “Being innovative is the way to go over global challenges,” Geoffrey of Adjumani says. And how does he advise people to surf the innovation wave? By growing vegetables. He says that by growing vegetables, one can set up their own enterprise which can “make and change one’s livelihood.”

The West Nile region, of which Adjumani is part, is known for tobacco growing. However, the lucrative business of tobacco growing is riddled with a number of problems which were explored by News-Hapa in this report: It is no wonder then that a number of people, like Geoffrey, have chosen to cultivate different crops like simsim (sesame), groundnuts and sunflowers.

Although tobacco remains the biggest earner for the region, Geoffrey tells News Hapa that vegetables like carrots, broccoli, cauliflower and coriander do well in the region and he is reaping big from farming them. So confident in his departure from the farming norm is Geoffrey that he spontaneously declares himself, “the best vegetable grower in the West Nile region.”

However you might feel about his self-praise, at least you’ll acknowledge that he is not one of the many youths without hope that often report into News-Hapa. Ariku Ocaya, from Adjumani like Geoffrey tells News-Hapa, “We as youths are facing problems of unemployment which leads to HIV infection.” Another reporter sums up the youth problem in one sweeping statement. “Most rural youth in Uganda see no hope in life and feel they have no value because of total neglect and manipulation by government.” He elaborates that most government programs designed for youth do not achieve more than 50% of their stated plans. Geoffrey’s story is a ray of hope for rural youth that will hopefully inspire other youth and reduce reports that tell of chronic unemployment and disappointment.

- Oct. 1, 2013
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