Kampiringisa, Mpigi district - President Yoweri Museveni has launched the Songhai model, an integrated approach that empowers youth, women and communities to sustainably harness natural resources for improved livelihoods through agriculture.
He launched the model during celebrations to mark International Youth Day (IYD) 2018 whose theme for this year focused on, “Safe Spaces for the Youth.”
The Songhai model which is being piloted and practised in Kampiringisa, Mpigi district has been identified as one of the safe spaces the youth can exploit to learn about agriculture and value addition.
“This model reminds us to go back to our indigenous knowledge to boost our agriculture. It improves yields by using a method that is healthier for the soil. I am therefore launching it as a new science for us to practise,” President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni said of the model.
He added that model is a science which Professor Father Godfrey Nzamujo, its founder, had done research on and found that soil needs microbes to boost its fertility. He encouraged the youth to embrace it because it is among the key areas that the country needs to focus on including skills building and value addition.
“Let us have a movement of value addition and you the youth can start it, start by stopping the sale and export of crops such as unprocessed maize. This will earn the country more money,” The President said during the launch event.
The Songhai model is being practised through the Uganda’s Green Growth Incubation Programme (UGIP), with a farm-site at Kampiringisa village in Mpigi district, some 56-kilometres West of Kampala. The site, which sits on 100 acres of land was provided by the Government of Uganda through its Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.
The Songhai model was introduced in Uganda through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP which identified it as one of the key approaches UNDP Uganda to achieve its current five year Country Programme which started in 2016. The model is a key component of one of its key flagship areas on Inclusive Green Growth for Poverty Reduction (IGGPR). It is being implemented in Partnership with the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development. The introduction of the Songhai model in Uganda is one of the many such interventions by UNDP to support the Government address youth unemployment, increase agricultural productivity and foster sustainable growth.
“We see Songhai Model as a nexus connecting agriculture, science, industry, service provision and tourism,” Ms. Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator who doubles as the UNDP Resident Representative said during the launch of the model.
Ms. Malango thanked the President Museveni for committing to support the centre and called on him to continue promoting it so that it becomes so that it becomes a point of reference on organic farming and agricultural integration in the world.
“I would like to request you to support and protect this investment by declaring this site, a centre excellence for Uganda and East and Southern Africa,” Ms. Malango said while delivering remarks during the IYD celebrations and reiterated UNDP Uganda’s commitment to support the programme for a period of three years to enable it take off successfully and become self-sufficient.
The Songhai Model is primarily a regenerative agriculture which uses agro-ecological practices to boost soil fertility, increase yields while protecting the environment. The model puts emphasis is on; production of more with less, zero waste, creation of green jobs, inclusive economy and self -reliance. All its processes are purely organic and integrate crop production, animal husbandry and aquaculture. Its primary stage focuses on production of raw materials includes crops and livestock while at the secondary stage, the model promotes processing and value addition of the raw materials. The model also incorporates marketing of its products and provision of training services for youth, women and community members interested in the model.
“The Songhai Model initiative is not just another agriculture method but a project of the new Africa. It is about how to radically and sustainably address the vicious cycle of poverty,” Fr. Godfrey Nzamujo said while describing the model.
Fr. Nzamujo further stressed that the model is simply an African initiative designed not only to reverse poverty but to develop new capacities for authentic and sustainable development.
For UNDP, promoting the model is part of its role as a knowledge broker, promoting South to South Cooperation while enabling the Government of Uganda to achieve its Vision 2040 toward middle income as well as agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) particularly Goal 1 on ending poverty and Goal 8 on good jobs and economic growth.