A total of 300,000 youth from 18 districts in five sub-regions are to benefit from $42m (about Shs149b) livelihood fund.
The five-year programme will support youth aged between 16 and 35 years to access financial services and products, acquire skills to manage farms and access market for their agricultural produce.
The programme, Young Africa Works in Uganda – Markets for Youth, targets to reach 210,000 young women and 90,000 young men, including 30,000 refugees and 15,000 young people living with disabilities.
The livelihood programme, which aims to make agriculture an attractive business venture for the youth, is co- funded by GOAL, a humanitarian aid agency, and the MasterCard Foundation.
The programme targets the districts of Hoima, Kikuube, Kabarole, Kasese, Kamwenge, Kyegegwa, Fort Portal, and Kiryandongo.
Other beneficiary districts are Dokolo, Apac, Lira, Kitgum, Pader, Moroto, Lamwo, Abim, Karenga, and Kotido.
Mr Mondo Kyateka, the commissioner of Youth and Children Affairs at the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, who spoke at the launch in Kampala on Thursday, said: “We have done a market research and have looked into those areas with high youth populations in Acholi, Lango and Karamoja sub-regions.”
Mr Mondo Kyateka said the number of people living below the poverty line in the country now stands at 21.4 per cent, up from 18.7 per cent.
He said the Covid-19 pandemic was partially responsible for the depressing situation.
On his part, the programme director for Young Africa Works in Uganda, Netsaalem Gebrie, said: “Agriculture provides the biggest opportunity for employment in Uganda.”
GOAL country director Jennifer Williams said: “We shall target bringing in the private sector and vocational training institutes to empower the youth.”
She said unemployment rate among the youth stands at 36 per cent.
Ms Williams added that the private partnership also seeks to reach 600,000 people indirectly by adapting their business models to develop new products and services for young farmers to support inclusive socio-economic development.
Also speaking at the launch event, Mr Samuel Yalew Adela, the country head, Uganda, at the MasterCard Foundation, said young people in Uganda are among the most enterprising in the world and only required the right support to bring innovation to the agricultural sector.