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1 in every 4 people in Sub-Saharan Africa starve due to a lack of food. I am passionate about securing food in my community because we cannot survive without access to quality and nutritious food. Farming has the potential to produce enough food and can be a good provider of employment opportunities for the 78%of unemployed youth in Uganda. Agriculture has the true potential to contribute to finding solutions to the biggest global challenges such as climate change and feeding the increasing global population. I believe we need to empower farmers if we are to transform communities and adapt to the current global challenges.
My name is Arnold Katende and I am the co-founder of a social venture called GenFarm Financial Enterprise, which empowers smallholder farmers in Northern Uganda through financial literacy training, access to agricultural technologies, and end-to-end services that optimize crop yields and labor productivity. At the 2019 Baobab Summit, GenFarm was awarded a $5,000 grant for the Resolution Project, which will create a long and lasting impact in the lives of many smallholder farmers.
Furthermore, I have founded Joint Organic Aquaponics (JOA),which aims to cultivate fish and plants in a constructed, recirculating ecosystem utilizing natural bacterial cycles to convert fish waste to plant nutrients in a symbiotic environment. The aquaponic system is 70% more productive and uses up to 90% less water than conventional gardens. Other advantages include no weeds, organic yields, fewer pests and no fertilizers. I believe this project will promote sustainable farming methods, mitigate against the effects of climate change and encourage more youth to get involved in agriculture. JOA has been awarded $11,115 from the MasterCard Foundation Social Entrepreneurship fund, where $5,500 is from at EARTH University and $5,615 from the Pestalozzi International Development Fund.
My ambition for the future is to go back to Uganda after graduating from EARTH University in 2021 and join our on-the-ground team to continue developing and expanding these projects to impact more people’s lives and to transform our community.
By Arnold Katende (Uganda)
Student at EARTH University
8 April 2020
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