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Meet Joseph Ogwal

Agricultural Consultant

 

The agricultural sector is dominant in Uganda's economy with the sector employing about 82% of the workforce and accounting for almost 90% of export earnings that contribute 23.1% to the Gross National Product of the country. Today we meet Joseph Owgal, a professional Agricultural Agronomist working as an Executive Director for Agro Supply Limited to share career insights about agriculture.

So who is Joseph Ogwal and what motivated him to puruse an agriculture related career path?

Ogwal Joseph is a professional Agricultural Agronomist, Holding a Bachelor in Agricultural Sciences, Volunteered with FAPAD and later work with Joseph Initiative Company. Now working as an Executive Director for Agro Supply Limited, a startup company working with smallholder farmers in Uganda providing them with good quality inputs and multi-layered hermetic bag recommended for the storage of maize, sorghum, rice, millet, dried beans and other pulses. This bag can store grain for longer without using any chemicals.

Why do you think many youth have a negative attitude towards agriculture and what do you think should be done to change that mindset?

Uganda is mainly an agricultural country and agriculture employs a greater percentage of people. However, the youth are shunning it. A greater percentage of Uganda’s population is below 30 years and unemployment is so high. However, the agriculture sector, which would have employed the many jobless youth, has not been attractive for them. The 2014 report titled: “Youth and agriculture: Key challenges and concrete solution” by Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) identified six challenges that bar youth from joining agriculture. It cited

  • Insufficient access to knowledge,
  • Information and education;
  • Limited access to land;
  • Inadequate access to financial services;
  • Difficulties accessing green jobs;
  • Limited access to markets and limited involvement in policy dialogue.

However, if we are to get the youth into farming to supplement and replace the ageing farmers, it has to be made as attractive as blue collar jobs, boda boda and betting business. I believes farming will produce the next millionaires and billionaires than any other sector in Africa.

What was your experience like while starting out in this field?

Since childhood I was a farmer, so I made up my mind to pursue what I love most, so I started by doing a Certificate in General Agriculture, and later did a Diploma in Crop Production and Management, finally Degree in Agricultural sciences, over the years I have worked with different organizations, done farming in different districts in Uganda. I surely dream farming and love it so much.

So Joseph, what is cool about this kind of work? Are there challenges?

Yes just like any other work and profession agriculture is challenging too and more hectic since it’s a science.

What skills does one need to be an Agricultural consultant, how important are those skills and how can someone perfect such skills?

One needs to enroll for a course in Agriculture because through this one will learn about Agriculture in depth both the theory and Practical part of it.

Has Joseph had any rewarding events so far, if yes, what are some moments that made you proud to be an Agricultural Consultant?

Yes to be part of the team that released MAKSOY 3N a soybean variety widely planted across African with an outstanding estimated yield of 2-3 tons per Acre and also having 27% oil content makes me so proud of myself.

So what is the future like for this career field? What trends are you seeing that are going to define the field 5 years to come?

In five years, Ugandan farmers should be able to supply East African Market with more than 50 million tons of food per season and I know with great mind combined together our farmers can do this.

Finally what advice would Joseph give someone who dreams of walking into the same career path you are in?

I can say.....if u want to venture into Agriculture you are on the right track and will never be jobless.

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