PAKWACH. Leaders in Panyango sub-county, Pakwach district are worried about the alarming rate of laziness and idleness among the youth, an act they say is threatening food security in the district.

According to Mr Godfrey Olobo, the Padoch village chairperson, youths these days prefer leisure activities such as watching football and betting in towns other than getting involved in productive activities like farming for food production.

He noted that Panyango which used to be the food basket of Jonam County has now dwindled in food production as many youths are shunning farming with few women and older person actively participating in agriculture.

Mr Olobo stressed that the negative attitude is likely to affect the district’s agricultural growth thus distressing the country's progress towards the sustainable development goal of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2040.

"The idling youths are the largest consumers of food and besides, their negative behaviour has affected several government poverty alleviation programs in this area as there's no existing vibrant youth group taking part in such projects," he said.

Panyango sub-county is considered as the main cassava producing sub-county in Pakwach alongside sorghum, maize, cowpeas which are predominantly for subsistence.

Mr Gibril Amale, the district councillor representing Panyango sub-county said he intends to move a motion in the council to curtail youths from idling during working hours.

"As leaders, we are tired of hosting lazy youths who are failing government programs. This pending by-law will have strong penalties not sparing any energetic youth found idling during working hours," he warned.

Mr Godfrey Olobo 28 05 19Mr Godfrey Olobo (L), the Padoch village chairman speaks during the interview.

Amale urged the youths to embrace agriculture since it is the backbone of the country.

However, Mr Innocent Oyengboth, a graduate of business administration said the leaders should lobby for tractors as one of the ways of mechanizing agriculture.

He said this will expand on the market for the local produce to attract youths thus curbing the glaring rate of unemployment among the young people.

"Priority should be given to agriculture by allocating enough funds for the sector in the country’s annual budget such that unemployed youths can be absorbed in farming lest the problem will remain unresolved,” said Oyengboth.

But opinion leaders say the lack of interest in farming cannot drive leaders to demand mechanised farming.

As a result of the youths abandoning the villages for pari-urban centres, most of the manual labour has been left to the elderly, women and children who are weak and unable to handle the growing demand for food.