ZOMBO. The community empowerment for rural development (CEFORD) has launched a four-year youth educational initiative in business oriented farming dubbed 'Aradu Pi fur' project in Zombo district.

The project worth 3.383 billion Ugandan shillings is to cover four sub counties of Warr, Zeu, Nyapea and Zombo town council.

Under the 'Aradu pi fur' project, at least 600 youths are targeted to acquire professional skills in business oriented farming for sustainable income and improved livelihoods.

Of the 600 expected beneficiaries, the project will capture 480 females representing 65 percent and 120 males accounting for 45 percent.

The youths will receive skills in managing apiary, piggery, poultry and horticulture from Adraa agricultural college among other services.

While launching the project at the district headquarters on Wednesday, CEFORD finance manager, Mr Robert Adralia, who represented the CEFORD Executive Director, said 'Aradu pi fur' is a successor project for the phased out Zombo youth empowerment initiative (ZOYEI) under which over 300 youths benefited.

Adralia called for support from the district leadership and other stakeholders in the areas of monitoring, community mobilization and change of attitude from subsistence farming to commercial agriculture.

Mr Kennedy Ayeyo, the CEFORD program coordinator Arua project area said the entry point of the 'Aradu pi fur' project is agriculture with focus on agri-business to empower the youth with appropriate skills for increased productivity and poverty eradication.

"This project is basically a youth vocational skills project and the entry point is agriculture which is branded with business skills. Overall, the project is youth involvement in agri-business," Ayeyo explained.

He said the project contributes to the sustainable development goals (SDGs) on issues of employment, income and also contributes to the government of Uganda's vision 2040 and the national development plan II in the areas of youth vocational skills development.

"Let us all support this project if not for any other thing but only for the purpose that we want the youth to do agriculture as a business for their own economic empowerment," Ayeyo said.

Robert AdreliaMr Robert Adrelia speaks during the launch.

Mr Isaac Lulaba, the Zombo resident district commissioner (RDC), who presided over the launch, said the district is lucky to have partnered with CEFORD to reinforce government efforts in eradicating poverty.

He called for practical implementation of the project through youth mobilization to actively engage in agriculture because most of the youth have remained complacent to commercial agricultural production.

Mr John Birombo Orwiny, the Zombo district chairman observed that the positive scores the district is realizing in the areas of service delivery partly emanate from CEFORD's intervention in education and agricultural sectors.

"Whatever good the district is achieving is partly attributed to CEFORD's intervention in the district and this is enough reason for us to support CEFORD in its quest to eradicate poverty in the district through commercial agriculture," Orwiny said.

He called upon the sub county extension workers to help the youth overcome challenges that may arise among the youth in the aftermath of the project.

Founded in July 2000, CEFORD is a non-governmental organization (NGO) operating in all the nine districts of West Nile region. It has presence in more than 55 sub counties in the region.