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Beauty meets Agriculture: A focus on Uganda

“It’s a great direction because the agriculture sector has great opportunity for jobs, so I’m simply grateful that the pageant took that direction and I would really love to see it promoted in our country because it is the backbone,” Leah Kalanguka

What is the reality?

An article by Gemma Ahaibwe and Swaibu Mbowa on “the Youth Unemployment Challenge in Uganda and the Role of Employment Policies in Jobs Creation” is an eye opener to the realities of the Ugandan population with three-quarters below the age of 30 years. 64 percent of the population are unemployed youth (national definition, 18-30 years) among the total unemployed persons yet Agriculture remains an important sector in Africa with 77% of Uganda population dependent on it.

According to Hon. Hope Mwesigye the Ugandan Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, agriculture contributes 48% of the total exports and 22% to the country's GDP.

What is happening?

Uganda recently rebranded its annual beauty pageant to promote agriculture in the country. Ensuring this happens, the contestants were taken through an army-sponsored boot camp on a farm where they milked cows and worked with goats and sheep. You are probably wondering where i am heading with this.

On Sunday 26th October 2014, a 23 year old Leah Kalanguka was crowned Miss Uganda 2014 after a competition that saw her emerge winner amongst 9 finalists. Leah attributes her victory to her background in farming, something she has been doing for a while. She has been involved in raising birds and mushroom growing, a venture she is proud of. Winning such a pageant that is mainly focused on farming is a dream come true for her, she says in her interview with NTV Uganda. 

While the rest of the country gets swallowed in their discontent and description of “beauty”, Leah chooses to focus on her new role for the next year and not let the negative criticism distract her. With her background in Computer Engineering, Leah hopes to integrate new technologies in the sector that employs the majority of Ugandans.

Read the original full article written by Joan Apio and published on cit4agriculture.