Youth urged to embrace technology, explore opportunities in agriculture

Miss Uganda Leah Kalanguka has reiterated the message of encouraging the youth to get involved in agriculture. “I urge young people to think about becoming job creators to practice agriculture because it is and will continue to be Uganda’s backbone. Young people should get involved in learning about modern biotechnology so they can know how we can improve agriculture and help to get rid of unemployment” she said.

Immense promise
Kalanguka was speaking during a three-day residential internship for Miss Uganda Foundation held at National Crops Research Institute (NaCRRI) Namulonge in March 2015. It was organised by Uganda Biosciences Information Centre (Ubic).

The internship was attended by Miss Uganda, together with nine other current and former regional beauty queens. It was aimed at exposing them to modern technologies which scientists are using to improve yields and address challenges. It was also to introduce the participants to some breakthrough techniques that have shown immense promise to tackle some crop production problems.

The training featured basics of modern biotechnology tools including DNA analysis, tissue culture, genetic modification (GM) technology, confined field testing management, regulatory aspects of GM research and science communication.
The participants also visited the fields at the research institute where improved crops are grown plus the laboratories, to get hands-on practice in crop improvement.

Important to regulate
Kalanguka, who is a computer engineer and small-scale farmer, said she believed that biotechnology, which is one of the ways scientists at the National Agricultural Research Organisation (Naro) are using to improve crops, is “very relevant to Uganda but our people need to be sensitised and educated about it”. This in light of the many controversies, most emanating from misinformation.

Dr Barbara Zawedde Mugwanya, coordinator, Ubic, acknowledged Miss Uganda Foundation for their work in grooming young females as role models to their peers and other Ugandans.

Deliberate effort
On his part, Dr Godfrey Asea, acting director, NaCRRI, also thanked the Miss Uganda Foundation for choosing to learn about the work of agricultural scientists. And also, being keen on sharing the knowledge gained to help empower many young Ugandans.
“For five years, starting in 2014, the theme for the Miss Uganda beauty pageant will be about youths in agriculture,” said Janet Nalugya, projects coordinator, Miss Uganda Foundation. “It is a deliberate effort to put the sector at the forefront of youth development agendas so that we can empower our young people to realise the potential of agriculture.”

During the run-up to the Miss Uganda 20142015 competition, the final contestants were enrolled into Bukalasa Agricultural College, where they embarked on an agriculture-focused boot camp.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor


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