President Yoweri Museveni has launched the Songhai model site in Kampiringisa, Mpigi district which seeks to promote organic agriculture, employment, green growth and an inclusive economy.
Songhai is an integrated model which uses regenerative agriculture and agro-ecological practises to leapfrog productivity, create green jobs and build an inclusive, sustainable economy.
Government together with other development partners intend to use the project to empowers youth, women and communities to sustainably harness natural resources for improved livelihoods.
The President who on Sunday officiated at the International Youth Day celebrations in Kampiringisa was led through a tour of the Songhai model site by Prof. Fr Godfrey Nzamujo, the director of Songhai. Fr Nzamujo who started the Songhai centre in Porto-Novo, Benin over 30 years ago.
During the tour, President Museveni was accompanied by UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango, UNDP Country Director, Ms Almaz Gebru together with Ministers Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi and Peace Mutuuzo.
Museveni said that the Songhai model improves yields by using a method that is healthier for the soil.
“The Songhai model reminds us to go back to our indigenous knowledge to boost our agriculture instead of using pesticides that are not safe for our soils,” the President said during his speech in Kampiringisa.
He added that the model “is very good” and that “it is a science which Prof. Nzamujo has done research on and found that soil needs microbes to boost its soil fertility”.
Ms Rosa Malango on her part thanked President Museveni for launching the initiative, saying that agriculture is a safe space for youth and provides them with employment, vital practical skills, mind-set change to appreciate the worthiness of manual work while earning an income and definitively transforming their lives.
She said that it provides an opportunity to think about how Uganda can strengthen old spaces and platforms while establishing new ones for youth to engage in activities related to their diverse needs and interests.
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) funded the training of 13 Ugandan youth in Benin, who have become a core team of implementors of the Songhai Model at the Kampiringisa site. Another 45 youth from the community have been trained and are currently working at the centre, Malango said.
The UN Resident Coordinator added that the Songhai model is Emevidence that environment friendly development is possible feasible and sustainable.
Malango said that this is in line with achieving Sustainable Deveopment agenda 2030, particularly Sustainable Development Goals One (reducing poverty) and Eight (decent work and economic growth).
Lillian Aber, the National Youth Council Chair appreciated the project which she said is promoting organic agriculture, but asked that it is expanded to other regions across Uganda.