Kirombe youth reap big from seedlings nursery project By Hope Mutesi

Seedlings in the YLAB nursery

To achieve the objective of bringing different urban farming technologies closer to the residents of Kirombe ghetto community, Footmarks Initiative Uganda, with support from the Network for Active Citizens, established a youth-led agro-bank to increase access to seedlings by community members. The Youth Led Agro Bank (YLAB) was set up with help from green city champions. The venture has increased access to organic seedlings for community members, offering agripreneurs an opportunity to showcase and demonstrate innovations in urban farming. The main objective of YLAB is to engage communities, especially the youth, to participate in urban farming as a source of food and income through the provision of quality seeds and seedlings to the community.
The establishment of the YLAB has resulted in the production of quality vegetable seedlings, which are distributed to GhettoGoGreen project beneficiaries for their urban gardens. On a quarterly basis, about 5,000 seedlings are produced at the YLAB. These have supported over 15 agripreneurs in Kirombe, a Kampala suburb, to expand their urban gardens. A case in point is the Butabika Youth Urban Farmers Group that has highly benefited from YLAB. The group has received over 2,000 seedlings of different vegetables, such as sukuma wiki, spinach and tomatoes. This has, therefore, expanded their vegetable production, which has increased their daily income to about sh12,000 from the sale of their produce.
“As green city champions, we aim to inspire people in Kirombe that farming is still a possibility. We not only raise awareness about different urban farming technologies that they can adopt, but also provide them with free seedlings that we produce at the YLAB,” said Mugabe Kenny, a youth leader in Kirombe. 
Besides creating awareness about the appropriate urban farming technologies that are fit for small spaces through community climate change awareness caravans, the agripreneurs and the green city champions are also sensitising their community members about the importance of adding vegetables to their menu, especially those that are grown in an organic way. 
“The seedlings bank has provided us with quality seedlings. However not so many people actually know that these seedlings are for the community, for free,” said Lwanga Douglas, an agripreneur in Kirombe.

Hope Mutesi