The African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education


Dear Guest,
chairAs Chair of ANAFE Board, with my team, we would like to welcome you and introduce our vibrant network to our valuable visitors.

The African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) is a network of 132 educational institutions in 37 African countries whose objective is to strengthen the teaching of multi-disciplinary approaches to land management. The ANAFE Secretariat is hosted at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi. This provides a vantage for network management, linkages with the research and development activities of ICRAF and its partners, and convenient communication facilities.

Administratively, the network is attached to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Day-to-day activities are supervised by an Executive Secretary. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has provided financial support to ANAFE since July 1991. Members contribute to the cost of managing specific activities. ANAFE works closely with Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resource Management initiatives in Africa.

Have a nice tour!

Prof. Saliou Ndiaye

About Us

The African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) is a network of 143 educational institutions in 35 African countries whose objective is to strengthen the teaching of multi-disciplinary approaches to land management with broyeur de branches ou broyeur a bois pour le jardin. The ANAFE Secretariat is hosted at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) headquarters in Nairobi. This provides a vantage for network management, linkages with the research and development activities of ICRAF and its partners, and convenient communication facilities.

Administratively, the network is attached to the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Day-to-day activities are supervised by an Executive Secretary. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) has provided financial support to ANAFE since July 1991. Members contribute to the cost of managing specific activities. ANAFE works closely with Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resource Management initiatives in Africa.


Mainstreaming integrated education and training programmes in Agriculture, Agroforestry, Forestry and Natural Resources within African colleges and universities.


Quality Tertiary Education, Research and Extension in Agriculture, Forestry, Agroforestry and other Natural Resources for Sustainable Socio-economic Transformation in Africa


To build capacity in tertiary institutions in Africa for quality education, training, research and extension in Agriculture, Forestry, Agroforestry and other Natural Resources for improved livelihoods.


ANAFE’score values are encapsulated in the acronym ‘NETGIF’ as summarized below:

For 2016 – 2020, ANAFE will focus on four strategic objectives:

  1. Strengthening ANAFE’s institutional capacity;
  2. Enabling policy and institutional environment for quality Tertiary Agriculture, agroforestry, forestry and other natural resources education and research;
  3. Enhancing business components in agriculture forestry, agroforestry and other related natural resources;
  4. Positioning ANAFE to become a Centre of Excellence for training and research in Forestry, Agroforestry and other Natural Resources.

Our History

In the late eighties, African colleges and universities teaching Agriculture and Natural Resource sciences realized that there were policy and institutional barriers to the establishment of Agroforestry education.

There were challenges relating to where within the academic programmes and how such an integrated programme could be introduced and managed.

Following a series of education workshops supported by ICRAF, the colleges and universities agreed to establish a network to facilitate an effective exchange of ideas, and share experiences on the teaching of integrated agricultural programmes. The idea was developed into a project proposal, which was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) beginning in May 1992.

ANAFE was launched at a meeting held at ICRAF headquarters, 19-21 April 1993. The launching meeting was attended by 17 universities and 12 technical colleges teaching land-use disciplines in sub-Saharan Africa. At the launching workshop, members defined the objectives, priority activities and procedures for establishing and managing the network. The network is hosted at the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya.

The overall objective of ANAFE at that time was to promote the incorporation of Agroforestry into agricultural programmes. Agroforestry, an integrating approach to farming and natural resources management was then not well understood and did not have natural niches in academic programmes. With time, more Colleges and Universities picked up Agroforestry, but a new problem emerged—many new areas of scientific and technological development such as biosciences, climate change and management of agriculture environmental services were emerging as important as well. With pressure from society to achieve more through agriculture and natural resource management in Africa, ANAFE had to expand its mandate.

At the fourth General Meeting in April 2003, members of ANAFE recognized the need to reform all agricultural and natural resources education programs to make them responsive to development needs. This would require among others, education policy changes, strengthening the content and delivery of education programmes, establishing and nurturing linkages among education, research and extension and building a culture of sharing information and expertise among educational programmes and training institutions. ANAFE launched a new programme dubbed ‘Improving agriculture and natural resources education in Africa – a stitch in time’

The new goal of ANAFE is to improve in a sustainable manner the contribution of agricultural education to social and economic development of the African people.

Organization structure

How ANAFE is Organized

In 1999 ANAFE adopted a regional structure, effectively decentralizing network decision-making, implementation, monitoring and control. This also enhanced grassroots ownership and management, sustainability, flexibility, and efficiency of the network. Thus, the network has four regional chapters one each in Eastern and Central Africa (ECA), African Humid Tropics (AHT), Southern Africa (SA) and the Sahel.

Structure and Management

General Meeting of members

A General Meeting of members (GM) is held once every four years to review progress made, provide policy direction, and define long-term strategies. The GM also elects the Board Chair and Vice-Chair. The overall structure and modus operandi of the network is also decided by the GM. Currently, the network has four regional chapters known as RAFTs – Regional Agricultural Forum for Training which report directly to the Board and the latter to the General Meeting.

In electing the chair and vice chair, members of ANAFE take into consideration gender and the linguistic and cultural diversity in its membership. The Chair presides over all Board and General Meetings. S/he has the ultimate responsibility concerning the development of the network. In the absence of the Chair, the Vice-Chair takes on these duties and responsibilities. The GM has the final decision on membership and membership fees.

RAFTs –Regional Agricultural Forum for Training

ANAFE has established four RAFTs:

Eastern and Central Africa (ECA-RAFT)

Southern Africa (SA-RAFT)

Sahelian countries (Sahel-RAFT)

Africa Humid Tropics (AHT-RAFT)

All member institutions in a region constitute a RAFT. ANAFE members in each region meet once every two years. They elect their Chair and five RAFT Committee members. The RAFT Chair, who may be elected directly by regional members or by and from the elected members of RAFT Committee, automatically becomes a member of the ANAFE Board. The regional meetings interpret ANAFE Board policies and decisions in the context of regional needs and priorities. They are semi autonomous, and at liberty to self-organize in a manner that promotes effectiveness and efficiency. The responsibilities of RAFTs include;

  1. Interpreting the policies on ANAFE for the region
  2. Monitoring agricultural capacity in the region; and developing and implementing responsive strategies, plans and activities
  3. Developing and implementing collaborative education and training activities among members of ANAFE
  4. Leading initiatives to develop, review and test teaching materials, methods and tools
  5. Collating, organizing and making accessible, training and educational materials with agro-ecozonal focus
  6. Sensitizing educational systems and organizing regional forums such as colloquia geared at strengthening agricultural and natural resources education
  7. Coordinating link efforts and activities among education, research and extension institutions and facilitating links with partners outside the region
  8. Catalyzing the evolution of pools of expertise to address various aspects of agricultural education and training, and to develop and share databases on the same
  9. Supporting the formation of national chapters of ANAFE known as NAFTs – National Agricultural Forum for Training. The latter comprise the members of ANAFE in the country and are designed and managed according to national needs. They report directly to RAFTs. RAFTs and NAFTs have interactive reporting systems, and share minutes of meetings, activity plans and other documents. Further, at least one RAFT committee member should be invited as an observer at NAFT committee meetings. Also the NAFT chair sits in RAFT committee meetings when such committee meetings are taking place in that particular NAFT country.

The Board

The overall responsibility for managing the network is vested in the Board, which comprises:

  1. A Chair, elected by the General Meeting of members
  2. A Vice-Chair, also elected by the General Meeting of members
  3. Two RAFT members from each region, of whom one must be the RAFT Chair elected by the region as explained above
  4. The ANAFE Executive Secretary (ex-officio secretary to the Board and General Meeting)
    The current Board Members for ANAFE are shown in the following Table:

The Board appoints a Network Executive Secretary and a Network Manager on a competitive basis for a period of five years, renewable once. The Executive Secretary with the help of the Network Manager are responsible for the day to day management of activities of the network.

The Board meets at least once every year to:

Executive Secretary

The Executive Secretary is based at ICRAF. S/he is responsible for the overall management of the network and provides liaison with donors. S/he will be assisted by the Network Manager and also by Senior Education Fellows as the volume of work may demand. The duties of the Executive Secretary include:

  1. Developing and reviewing the strategy for managing ANAFE for maximum effectiveness
  2. Maintaining ANAFE liaison with national research institutions and CGIAR centres , donors and other relevant organizations and/or networks
  3. Developing projects to secure resources for the management of the network.
  4. Providing direct technical and resource support to RAFT initiatives
  5. Producing and distributing publications and reports on ANAFE activities, including the network newsletter
  6. Facilitating inter-regional communication and collaboration
  7. Maintaining up to date records of ANAFE and databases
  8. Backstopping and monitoring regional activities
  9. Analyzing and producing continental synthesis of ANAFE activities
  10. Carrying out any other tasks as may be assigned by the Board

Principles and Mechanisms

ANAFE activities are implemented within existing institutional frameworks, in a collaborative mode and on cost-sharing principles accepted by participating institutions. Within this context, ANAFE promotes contacts and collaboration among members in addressing their specific needs. The following specific mechanisms are agreed upon by ANAFE members.

Linking member institutions

Through thematic workshops, exchange of faculty, review of curricula and similar activities, ANAFE promotes and fosters contacts among educators in various agricultural and natural resources disciplines. The long-term objective is to build up sustainable collaboration especially in resource and experience sharing.

Linking training with research

ANAFE works in close collaboration with the existing agricultural research networks in Africa, and may expand this to global research institutions.

Linking with industry and extension

In its activities, ANAFE involves extension services and NGOs wherever possible. Forging linkages with extension is essential to enrich curricula with real world problems of farming communities.

South-South Collaboration

ANAFE exchanges experience with similar networks and initiatives in Africa, as well as Asia and Latin America. Experiences are shared through joint meetings between educators in ANAFE, Southeast Asian Network for Agroforestry Education (SEANAFE), Asia Pacific Agroforestry Network (APAN) and representatives in Latin America. ANAFE plays a role in the development of frameworks for education networks, for instance International Partnership on Forestry Education (IPFE) and Global Network on Agroforestry Education (GANAFE).

Sustainability through cost sharing

ANAFE activities are carried out on a cost-sharing basis between participating institutions (ANAFE members and others). Usually, activities are led by ANAFE member institutions, which contribute in cash or in kind towards the expenses. Other participants and donors may provide support also in kind or cash.

In furtherance of its objectives, ANAFE may exercise any or all the following powers, namely the power:

  1. To receive grants from any legal organization for the purpose of advancing the objectives of ANAFE
  2. To establish, maintain and operate information and other data centres for activities relevant to its objectives
  3. To sponsor or support working groups, conference, seminars and other meetings
  4. To enter into contracts or agreements with governments, with national, international, public and private organizations and agencies, with universities and with individuals
  5. To acquire and hold real property or any interest therein and alienate the same freely
  6. To institute legal proceedings in the country or countries of its establishment and elsewhere provided the country laws supersede any ANAFE legal provisions; and
  7. To do such other things as are conducive to carrying out of its objectives.

Board members

Prof. Saliou Ndiaye
Board Chair
University of Thies, Senegal
 Prof. Christine Onyango
Vice Chair
Taita-Taveta University, Kenya
 Dr. Wilson Kasolo
Interim Executive Secretary
Secretary to the Board
 Prof. Paul Essetchi
Université Felix Houphouet Boigny, Cote D’Ivoire
 Prof. Stanley Makuza
Chinhoyi University of Technology, Zimbabwe
 Prof, James Kungu
Kenyatta University, Kenya
 Prof. Yerokun Olusegun
Mulungushi University, Zambia
 Dr Wilson Kasolo
Vice Chair, ECA RAFT
Interim Executive Secretary, ANAFE
 Prof Adam Toudou
Vice Chair, SAHEL RAFT
University of Abdou Moummouni, Niger
 Prof. Paul Baiyeri
AHT RAFT, Vice Chair
University of Nigeria, Nsukka
ICRAF Representative to the Board


New Interim Executive Secretary
Dr. Wilson Kasolo, before joining ANAFE as Interim Executive in October 2016, worked as Principal to Nyabyeya Forestry College, and he also worked as a Senior Education Fellow with ANAFE in the formative stages of ANAFE (1993 – 1995). He has also previously served as a Chair and Vice of the East Central Africa RAFT, and a Board member to the Board of ANAFE for long

 Former Executive Secretary
After an exemplary and distinguished service at ANAFE for 9 years – from 2007 to 2016, Prof. Aissetou Yaye Drame, retired from ANAFE in October 2016. She is at University Abdou Moumouni, as an Associate Professor, and can be reached on the contacts indicated below:

Aissetou Drame Yaye (PhD)
Associate Professor
Faculty of Agriculture
University Abdou Moumouni
BP 10960 Niamey, Niger
Tel (227) 97774343
Email: adrameyaye / ayaye@refer. ne
Skype: aidayaye

We deeply appreciate her great contribution to ANAFE, and we wish her well. She can be reached on

 Josephine Oyoo
Accounts Officer

Our Members

  1. Universite de Ouagadougou – Burkina Faso
  2. Ecole Nationale des Eaux et Forets Dindresso (ENEF) -Burkina Faso
  3. Institut Panafricain pour le Développement – Burkina Faso
  4. Universte Polytechnique de Bobo Dioulasso – Burkina Faso
  5. Universite du Burundi – Burundi
  6. Institut Polytechnique Rural de Formation et de Recherche Applique – Mali
  7. Centre de Formation Pratique forestier de Tabakoro (CFPF) – Mali
  8. Universite Abdou Moumouni de Niamey-Faculte d’Agronomie – Niger
  9. Institut Pratique de Developpement Rural (IPDR) – Niger
  10. Centre Regional AGHRYMET – Niger
  11. Ecole Nationale Superieure D’Agriculture (ENSA) – Senegal
  12. Universite Cheick Anta Diop (UCAD) – Senegal
  13. Ecole Nationale des Cadres Ruraux (ENCR) – Senegal
  14. Bunda College of Agriculture – Malawi
  15. Centre Nationale de Formation des Technicies des Eaux, Forets, Chasses et Parcs Nationeaux (CNFTEFCPN) – Senegal
  16. Centre Forestier de Recyclage a’ Thies – Senegal
  17. Universite d’Abomey Calavi – Benin
  18. Universite de Dschang – Cameroon
  19. Universite Des Montagnes (Udm) – Cameroon
  20. Universite de Yaounde 1 – Cameroon
  21. Universite de Ngaoundere – Cameroon
  22. Institut Chretien Polytechnique et Professionnel des Arts et Metiers – Congo
  23. Universite de Ziguinchor – Senegal
  24. Institut Facultaire des Sciences Agronomiques de Yangambi – DRC
  25. Institut Superieur de Developpement Rural de Bukavu (ISDR) – DRC
  26. Ecole Nationale Superieure d’Agronomie (ENSA) – Ivory Coast
  27. Universite Catholique de Bukavu – DRC
  28. Universite de Lome – Togo
  29. Centre d’Experimentation et de Diffusion en gestion paysanne des Tanety – Madagascar
  30. Zagazig University (Institute of Efficient Production) – Egypt
  31. College of Agriculture and Aquatic Sciences, University of Asmara – Eritrea
  32. Addis Ababa University – Ethiopia
  33. Wondo Genet College of Forestry – Ethiopia
  34. Jimma University, College of Agriculture – Ethiopia
  35. Mekelle University College – Ethiopia
  36. Awassa College of Agriculture – Ethiopia
  37. College of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences, University of Nairobi, Kenya
  38. Egerton University – Kenya
  39. Moi University – Kenya
  40. Jomo Kenyata University of Agriculture and Technology – Kenya
  41. Kenyatta University – Kenya
  42. University of Eastern Africa, Baraton – Kenya
  43. Maseno University – Kenya
  44. Universite Nationale du Rwanda – Rwanda
  45. Institut Superieur d’Agriculture et d’Elevage de Busogo – Rwanda
  46. Kenya Forestry College – Kenya
  47. Embu Agricultural Staff Training College – Kenya
  48. Bukura Agricultural College – Kenya
  49. Alfashir University – Sudan
  50. Baraka Agricultural College – Kenya
  51. College of Forestry and Range Science, Sudan University – Sudan
  52. University of Khartoum – Sudan
  53. University of Kordofan – Sudan
  54. University of Juba – Sudan
  55. Forestry Training Centre-Kagelu – Southern Sudan
  56. University of Gezira – Sudan
  57. Forestry Training institute Olmotonyi – Tanzania
  58. University of Sennar – Sudan
  59. Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute, Tengeru – Tanzania
  60. Ahfad University for Women – Sudan
  61. MATI Ukiriguru – Tanzania
  62. MATI Tumbi – Tanzania
  63. Makerere University – Uganda
  64. Nyabyeya Forestry College – Uganda
  65. Arapai College of Agriculture – Uganda
  66. Regional College of Agriculture, Bambili – Cameroon
  67. Gulu University of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences – Uganda
  68. University of Cape Coast, School of Agriculture – Ghana
  69. Kwame Nkrumah University Science and Technology – Ghana
  70. Bukalasa Agricultural College – Uganda
  71. Liberia Forestry Research Institute – Liberia
  72. University of Ghana, Legon – Ghana
  73. Ahmadu Bello University – Nigeria
  74. School of Forestry, Sunyani – Ghana
  75. Anambra State College of Agriculture – Nigeria
  76. Borno College of Agriculture – Nigeria
  77. United Nations University – Ghana
  78. Federal University of Technology, Akure – Nigeria
  79. University College of Education of Winneba – Ghana
  80. University of Agriculture, Abeokuta – Nigeria
  81. Ladoke Akintola University of Technology – Nigeria
  82. Njala University College – Sierra Leone
  83. University of Nigeria, Nsukka – Nigeria
  84. Universite de Gaston Berger de Saint Louis – Senegal
  85. University of Ibadan – Nigeria
  86. Botswana College of Agriculture – Bostwana
  87. University of Agriculture, Makurdi – Nigeria
  88. National University of Lesotho – Lesotho
  89. Lesotho Agricultural College – Lesotho
  90. Malawi College of Forestry and Wildlife – Malawi
  91. Ecole Superieur des Sciences Agronomiques (ESSA) – Madagascar
  92. Chancellor College, Malawi – Malawi
  93. University of Mauritius – Mauritius
  94. Natural Resources College – Malawi
  95. Universidade Eduardo Mondlane – Mozambique
  96. Catholic University of Mozambique – Mozambique
  97. Stellenbosch University – South Africa
  98. Instituo Agrario de Chimoio – Mozambique
  99. Instituo Agrario de Chimoio – Mozambique
  100. University of Fort Hare – South Africa
  101. Ogongo Agricultural College, Namibia – Namibia
  102. Fort Cox College of Agriculture and Forestry – South Africa
  103. University of Namibia – Namibia
  104. University of KwaZulu Natal – South Africa
  105. Technikon SA – South Africa
  106. University of Zululand – South Africa
  107. MATI Uyole – Tanzania
  108. University of Pretoria – South Africa
  109. Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute, Mlingano – Tanzania
  110. University of Swaziland – Swaziland
  111. University of Zambia – Zambia
  112. Sokoine University of Agriculture – Tanzania
  113. Zambia Forestry College – Zambia
  114. Natural Resources Development College – Zambia
  115. Zimbabwe Forestry College – Zimbabwe
  116. School of Natural Resources Copperbelt University – Zambia
  117. Chibero College of Agriculture – Zimbabwe
  118. Zambia College of Agriculture – Zambia
  119. Africa University – Zimbabwe
  120. Zimbabwe Open University – Zimbabwe
  121. Mlezu Agricultural College – Zimbabwe
  122. Kushinga-Phikelela National Farmer Training Centre – Zimbabwe
  123. Bindura University of Science and Education – Zimbabwe
  124. Rio Tinto Agricultural Institute – Zimbabwe
  125. Midlands State University – Zimbabwe
  126. School of Agriculture, Gambia College – Gambia
  127. Alemaya University, College of Agriculture – Ethiopia
  128. Universite de Kinshasa – DRC
  129. Ecole des Eaux et Forets de Mbalmayo – Cameroon
  130. Universite de Cocody – Ivory Coast
  131. Mzuzu University – Malawi
  132. Mulungushi University – Zambia
  133. University of Maiduguri – Zimbabwe
  134. Chinhoyi University of Technology, School of Agricultural Sciences and Technology – Zimbabwe
  135. Université Nangui Abrogoua – Cote D’Ivoire
  136. Rongo University College – Kenya
  137. Taita Taveta University College – Kenya
  138. Strathmore University – Kenya
  139. University of Agriculture Ketou, Benin
  140. University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  141. Njala University – Sierra Leone
  142. Christian Bilingual University – DRC
  143. Ecole Normale Supérieure D’Abidjan – Cote d’Ivoire

What we do

Strategic Plan

Strategic Objectives

To achieve our mission and vision, we shall focus on four strategic objectives within the context of Tertiary Agricultural Education in Africa:

Strategic Objective 1: Review and reform curricula

The subject matter and types of courses that students require to be competitive in today’s job market need to be appropriately incorporated into curricula in ways that enhance relevance but also make programmes exciting. The emergence of the private sector as an important employer in African countries and the increasing recognition of the complex interdependence of agriculture and NRM are also critical dimensions for consideration in curriculum architecture. Partnerships among TAE institutions and with private companies provide options for improving access to new technologies and incorporation of practical agri-business ‘thinking and doing’ in curricula.

Expected Outcome:
Enhanced capacity of member TAE institutes to develop or review and update curricula to produce graduates who meet business and job market requirements today and for the future

Key Output Areas

Strategic Objective 2: Improve context relevance through content development and enhanced delivery

Agriculture in Africa today places a lot of emphasis on adoption of modern technologies, many of which have been developed in the North. Training materials used in African TAE institutions are also predominantly those developed in and for developed country contexts. Such technologies work for large-scale and capital-intensive agriculture, but generally fail to address the specificities of smallholder agriculture. This disconnect is also reflected in education policies. New approaches to learning and knowledge that incorporate the environmental knowledge of local people are needed. The ultimate aim is to make environmental (biophysical, socio-cultural and economic) issues inseparable from the professionalism of graduates, the production practices of farmers, the commercial objectives of agri-businesses and the interests of society for a safe and secure environment.

Expected Outcome:
Delivery of agriculture and NRM courses that are relevant to African contexts in ways that maximize reach, especially to youth and women, and facilitate synergies whilst maintaining diversity of course.

Key Results Areas

Strategic Objective 3: Improve institutional governance and leadership

There is a duality to the leadership thrust in the ANAFE strategy: to ensure that, over time but as quickly as possible, the TAE institutions themselves have credible, transformative leadership that drives positive change consistent with changing times; and to facilitate inclusion of leadership content in TAE programmes so that graduates leaving these institutions become transformative people, regardless of the sector they eventually engage in.

Expected Outcome:
Enhanced capacity of TAEs to generate exceptional leaders for tomorrow

Key Output Areas

Strategic Objective 4: Create an enabling policy and institutional environment through networking

Lack of an ‘enabling environment’, especially inadequate financing, poorly coordinated investments, and lack of effective collaboration among key stakeholders constrain transformation of TAE in Africa. Establishment and nurturing of links among education, research, extension and private sector institutions will be a core focus of the Strategy, as will be enhancing women enrolment in TAE programmes and employment in agriculture and making agriculture more attractive to the youth – both of which represent perhaps the biggest untapped human resource potential for Africa’s agriculture today.

Expected Outcome:
Policy and institutional environment that facilitates productive stakeholder engagement, spurs investments in tertiary education in agriculture and NRM, and supports increased engagement of women and youth

Key Output Areas



Strengthening Africa’s Strategic Agricultural Capacity ForImpact on Development
A transformative programme


In sub-Saharan Africa, those who live in rural areas comprise approximately 70 percent of the total population. By 2030, due to urbanization, it is projected that rural people will represent 58 percent of the total population. Rural populations in Africa depend almost entirely on agriculture and the exploitation of natural resources for their livelihoods and development. Despite the tremendous technological developments in the world, African agriculture has remained small scale, low input, rain-fed and low-tech. It also suffers from heavy competition from ‘cheap’[1] imported products. Major transformations are needed for agriculture to take its place in driving development. Key among the changes necessary is that of agricultural institutions.

Many country and regional policies and strategic plans recognize agriculture as the backbone of their economy. However, they do not explicitly link agricultural education to the ambitions to achieve rural or agro-industry development. Tertiary agricultural education must take centre stage in the institutional reform hierarchy as well as the development process if the goals are to be achieved.

Recent challenges such as climate change and the role of biotechnology are not only poorly understood, but are in fact new to agricultural education and some institutions do not have the expertise to teach these topics. In addition, between 75 and 250 million people in Africa will face increased water stress by 2020. In some African countries, the yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50 percent by 2020.

Education and training in agriculture is a strategic priority if we are to achieve food security, eradicate malnutrition and poverty, and spur development in rural Africa. Well designed and targeted tertiary agricultural education (TAE) can provide scientific expertise, technical innovations and training in strategic areas of education for rural people, industry and policy makers. Agricultural education in its current form is not effectively targeted or structured to deliver on such an ambitious programme.


There are close to 100 universities and colleges in Africa that teach agriculture and natural resource sciences. African universities were initially meant to simply raise human resources to meet public sector needs. This has long petered off and many graduates end up jobless because the industries which would have absorbed them are not yet developed, and they have not been prepared to establish their own businesses. Neither are there adequate support systems, financial or otherwise, to enable self-employment. The challenge today is for TAE institutions to link their programmes more effectively to community and industrial development. Such a move would justify the continued investment in TAE. The following weaknesses have been identified in current agricultural education programmes:

The overall objectives of the programmes are poorly articulated and they often do not explicitly refer to community and industrial development. This shows a context deficit which ANAFE has pointed out and tried to address;
The curricula are still largely unsuitable and incoherent, obviously after lots of patchwork to add present-day issues. Current TAE is a mosaic of many reviews, each adding on some aspect but not providing sufficient articulation of the overall vision, mission and objectives. Complete reviews are urgently needed;
Due partly to limited resources and also to inadequate training of educators, the tools, methods and quality of teaching and learning are weak, especially with respect to practicum;
There is poor understanding of the integrative nature of land use disciplines, particularly regarding the links between farming and nature conservation;
The business and industrial development aspects are not well articulated, particularly in academic research. Teaching tends to reinforce production and subsistence;
Local innovations and links with local communities are very weak, at a time when the population of jobless rural youth is growing;
Despite the fact that women are the main players in agriculture, they represent only 15-18 percent of the student population.

Higher technical education is increasingly recognized as a critical aspect of the development process, especially with the growing awareness of the role of science, technology and innovation in economic renewal. Nowhere is this truer than in agriculture. The challenges include building human capacity and transmitting technical skills to succeeding generations, which underscores the urgency to expand women’s access to higher technical education.

SASACID is a sub-Saharan Africa university network that specifically addresses the challenges facing tertiary agriculture education. Its overall objective is to raise the quality and relevance of agricultural education at the tertiary level to encompass the cross-cutting issues that are pertinent to attaining sustainable and profitable agriculture and to develop new cadres of professionals capable of assuming key roles in national, regional and international agricultural science, extension, business and policy.

The proposed interventions are encapsulated in the following six projects:

Refocusing agricultural learning objectives and improving curricula;
Establishing the capacity of agricultural scientists to develop relevant learning resources based on African knowledge and experiences;
Building capacity for innovation systems approach: linking agricultural policy with research, education, industry and practice;
Strengthening capacity for agri-business education and training, particularly strengthening the interest and capacity of women and youth to take up careers in agriculture;
Managing risk and uncertainty in agriculture, including agrochemicals, biosafety and climate change;
Strengthening methods for teaching and learning and enhancing Agricultural Information and Knowledge Management.

MDG Programme’s contributions
Goal 1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger Agriculture underwrites livelihoods of rural poor. Proper development and application of agricultural knowledge depends to a large extend on the tertiary education institutions. Effective education, in addition to producing useful graduates, can lead to improvement and evolution of institutions, science and practice.
Goal 2. Achieve universal primary education Graduates of tertiary education play an important role in education programmes at all lower levels of education.
Goal 3. Promote gender equity and empower women Although women play a major role in agricultural productivity in Africa, they are often disadvantaged in terms of access to tertiary agricultural education and access to new knowledge. SASACID will study and apply approaches and means that improve the situation for women and youth, including provision of scholarships.
Goal 4. Reduce child mortality Rural development is inextricably linked to agricultural development. By bringing about agricultural improvements, the programme will improve nutrition and reduce environmental pollutants that are injurious to health.
Goal 5. Improve maternal health The programme will facilitate improved access to food and nutrition for women.
Goal 6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases Foods rich in minerals and vitamins play a vital role in boosting body immunity. In teaching programmes, attention will be paid to addressing the role of agriculture in combating HIV/AIDS. Domestication of valuable plants into agriculture will build on traditional knowledge (herbal products etc).
Goal 7. Ensure environmental sustainability Climate change/variation risks have impact on land use, especially sustainability of agriculture. Remedial measures include mechanisms that ensure sustenance of land productivity and especially measures that preserve the local environment.
Goal 8. Develop a global partnership for development The programme will bring together a wide range of stakeholders in agricultural education, research and industry.


Prosperity in sub-Saharan Africa is closely related to agriculture. Poor performance in this area threatens livelihoods and reinforces poverty. This is projected to remain so for at least another two decades. The right to basic human needs in Africa will continue to be elusive as long as food security is not assured for every person. Food aid often comes with conditions, and the mode of distribution using middle-men usually infringes on human rights.


Currently, extension programmes in many countries are quite weak. They lack facilities and resources to reach needy farmers in remote areas, but they are also quite few, due to structural adjustment programmes which reduced public support for this area. The assumption that private sector would take the mantle has not worked, because poor farmers cannot afford to pay for extension services.

The philosophy behind SASACID is building the capacity to build capacity; a mantra originated and popularized by ANAFE. In this programme, tertiary agricultural education institutions will articulate their education objectives to include responsibility for rural community development. Thus, they will have faculty and student support programmes for producer organizations, farmer field schools, NGOs, CBOs and agro-industries. Additionally, they will target all thesis and special project research to solve clearly identified and prioritized problems. Regular training programmes will be developed for extension personnel, but more importantly, the renewed education objectives and priorities will encourage serious investment in agriculture and agro-industry, thus stimulating employment. There will also be a major transformation, with more women getting engaged in extension services.


There is no doubt that each country is responsible for its own education programmes, be they in agriculture or other disciplines. However, there are actions that can benefit from a common approach, particularly in terms of economies of scale, sharing of experiences, improved integration and better utilization of scarce human resources. These are the principles underpinning the development of SASACID as a regional programme.


The primary beneficiaries will be all institutions participating in the programme. Ultimate beneficiaries will be the users of agricultural science and innovations, mainly comprising farmers, rural communities, agro-industries and businesses. Countries will benefit from improved returns to their investment in agricultural education.

We envisage the following benefits from the regional approach:

It provides opportunities to learn from successful cases (e.g. extension training by Sasakawa Global 2000 in West Africa; Earth University in Costa Rica) which can be used as models and adapted for other institutions;
In many areas of specialization there are very few experts. Through faculty exchange programmes, we can mobilize them as trainers as well as implementers of programmes beyond their own countries. This means effective use of rare capacity;
Common tools and methods can be developed or adapted, for instance in the review of curricula
In the development of learning resources it is necessary to put together experiences from different socio-economic and environmental settings;
The opportunity to minimize duplicity and develop complementary programmes will be created through this approach;
There is a benefit in many countries working together in the same direction. It creates a force that is likely to be recognized as it is shared at many forums;
The learning materials to be developed jointly and shared widely through various media;
Peer pressure will work to ensure that those institutions lagging behind in the transformation do catch up; and
The various networks and organizations operating at global, regional and sub-regional levels can easily participate in and contribute to the process.
Many activities will take place at the institutional and country levels, because that is where the changes are needed. However, regional coordination will provide a balanced oversight and support and facilitate more efficient use of available capacity.

[1] Many of the products are subsidized


1.0 Background and Context
1.1 Introduction
The nexus between research, innovation and entrepreneurship is the driving force behind human advancement: research feeds innovation which in turn drives entrepreneurship. Unfortunately, the growing chasm between skills set and knowledge of university graduates in Africa on one hand, and market demands in the agricultural sector on the other is generating anxiety and concern amongst educationalists, researchers and developments practitioners in the continent. The concern arises from the fact that Africa still lags behind western countries with regard to generation and application of new ideas in the agricultural sector to boost food production. This state of affairs, juxtaposed with high levels of unemployment amongst university graduates in the midst of increasing demand for the application of modern agricultural/agroforestry/agribusiness practices must be revisited and acted upon. Africa, perhaps more than any other continent, and more than ever before, require a deliberate shift towards an agricultural system based on research, innovation and agribusiness. This is the only sustainable way to counter emerging challenges facing the sector: low agricultural productivity and the attendant food insecurity. Critical examination of the problem point to three possible underlying causes: low innovation in the agricultural sector; lack of practical skills with regard to agricultural practices among university graduates; and, poor entrepreneurship skills. The African Commission, having deliberated on this issue at length, concluded that:

“African universities are not sufficiently geared to meet the needs of industry. Graduates often cannot find employment, while many small businesses lack staff with the education and skills needed to drive innovation. Essentially, the relationship between the demands of the private sector and what universities teach is too weak. However, studies show that when university graduates do business, they create more jobs than those without a university education. Nowhere are these deficiencies more critical than in agriculture, Africa’s dominant industry”.

Thus, from the foregoing, strengthening the link between research, university education, with respect to agriculture and natural resources and agribusiness could be the spark required to ignite an agrarian revolution in the continent. In light of the above, and taking into account existing complexities and challenges, the African Network of Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), together with African universities and colleges in conjunction with nongovernmental organizations and research institutions, has embarked on an exciting journey towards enhancing food security in the continent by tapping into the potential benefits accruing from effective collaboration among the key institutions in this sector. Funded by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Danida, the initiative, dubbed Universities Business Research in Agriculture and Innovation (UniBRAIN), aims to catalyze agricultural productivity and entrepreneurship with the ultimate aim of boosting agricultural productivity and food security in the continent. This will mainly be achieved through collaborative management of agribusiness incubators comprising of universities, research institutions and the private sector in the Africa. However, to reap maximum benefit from this initiative, it is important that the relevant bodies and institutions a device pragmatic and ingenuous approaches.

1.2 UniBRAIN Development Objective and Output Domains
The development objective of UniBRAIN is to contribute to enabling African countries to create and raise incomes through sustainable agribusiness development. This is to be achieved through the following three output domains;

Commercialization of agribusiness innovations supported and promoted
Agribusiness graduates with a potential to become successful entrepreneurs produced by tertiary educational institutions
UniBRAIN’s innovative outputs, experiences and practices shared and up-scaled

The three Output Domains interact as shown in Figure 1

Fig. 1: Interaction of the three Output Domains

1.3 Role of ANAFE in UniBRAIN
ANAFE is tasked with overseeing Output Domain 2 during the life of UniBRAIN. The following are the specific tasks to be undertaken by ANAFE:

Provide performance and quality assurance in respect of the improvement of agribusiness education;
Work with the incubators and associated agribusiness faculty staff in planning and designing improvements to agribusiness education modules and courses;
Help to ensure that the universities associated with UniBRAIN take optimal advantage of the incubators to improve the agribusiness education that they provide
Be a knowledge source on the lessons learnt by other initiatives for improving agribusiness education;
Raise UniBRAIN impact by disseminating improved agribusiness education products amongst its wider membership and by helping internalizing them in non-UniBRAIN universities and colleges.

  1. UniBRAIN Incubators
    UniBRAIN is designed to operate tripartite innovation incubators comprising of universities, research institutions and the private sector. Agribusiness Innovation Incubation Consortia (AIIC)

UniBRAIN is designed to pilot initiatives aimed at creating graduate entrepreneurs, improving teaching and practice of agribusiness and developing approaches for scaling up and scaling out best practices and lessons learnt. The inception and start up phases of UniBRAIN have been successfully implemented leading to the selection of the following six Agribusiness Innovation Incubation Consortia (AIIC).

Consortium Area of focus
Sorghum Value Chain Development Consortium (SVCDC) – Kenya
Sorghum value chain focusing on Food, and feedstock to other industries
Consortium for Enhancing University Responsiveness to Agribusiness Development (CURAD) – Uganda
Focusing on the coffee value chain in Uganda from production to utilization.
Afri-Banana Products Limited – Uganda

Focusing on the banana value chain involving packaging fresh bananas for export and other products such as banana wine and basketry from banana fibre
Creating Competitive Livestock-Bias Entrepreneurs in Agribusiness (CCLEAr) – Ghana
Focusing on livestock products from poultry and small ruminants
West African Agribusiness Resource Incubator (WAARI) – Mali

Focusing on agroforestry products that are commercialized
Agri-Business Incubation Trust (AgBIT) in Zambia

Focusing on value chain of tropical fruits including mangoes, water melon and tomatoes
3. Experiences Learnt so far
3.1 University capacity in technology generation
From the work done by ANAFE during the inception start up phases of UniBRAIN, it was observed that extensive research work undertaken by universities has generated a number of prototype technologies that need to be commercialized. These technologies are used for teaching and learning and often win awards during exhibitions. The challenge lies with the next step of commercializing the technologies as supportive framework for this is lacking. ANAFE has lobbied university administration in developing structures that will enable them to better link with industry and have these technologies commercialized.

3.2 Understanding of Incubators
UniBRAIN was designed to develop agribusiness incubators as a way of generating graduate business start ups. The understanding of an incubator was found to be different for different universities. This led to the recommendation of the following model for incubation to be used by the consortia and universities.


Fig. 2: Model for Incubation recommended to the consortia by ANAFE

3.3 Nurturing Agripreneurs – The Internship Experience
As part of the efforts in enhancing the participation of agribusiness graduates in undertaking businesses along the agricultural value chain, ANAFE was involved in an internship programme during the start up phase of UniBRAIN. The following was established from the internship;

There is need for more practical sessions for agribusiness students to enable them practice their profession
The interaction of the agribusiness students with the industry needs to be enhanced for them to develop understanding of enterprises and enhance a positive attitude to agro-enterprises
Internships are needed to for agricultural graduates to achieve the UniBRAIN purpose of job creation
The agricultural industries have a role in packaging agribusiness graduates to be entrepreneurs
Contextualized enterprise development learning materials need to be developed in UniBRAIN
3.4 The Agribusiness curriculum survey
During the Start-up phase for UniBRAIN, ANAFE identified the need for a thorough assessment of the agribusiness curriculum offered in universities in order to recommend improvements that will optimize on the benefits to curriculum during UniBRAIN implementation. To this end, ANAFE undertook an agribusiness curriculum survey in Africa with four regional consultants each covering one of the four regions of ANAFE namely; East and Central Africa Region (ECA), Southern Africa Region (SA), African Humid Tropics Region (AHT) and the Sahel Region. The agribusiness curriculum surveys revealed the following;

The agribusiness curriculum is wide, giving students a wide exposure of the subject. However, there is need for more practical sessions for agribusiness students to enable them to sharpen their entrepreneurial acumen.
The curriculum needs to be structured in a way that will enhance interaction between agribusiness students and the Industry.
Internships are needed for agricultural graduates to achieve the UniBRAIN purpose of job creation
The agricultural industries have a role in packaging agribusiness graduates to be entrepreneurs, a factor that ANAFE will explore with other UniBRAIN Team partners
Teaching and learning materials on enterprise development by graduates need to be developed from the success stories of the start-ups and on-going incubator businesses.
During UniBRAIN implementation, ANAFE seeks to optimize on the lessons from the incubation process to develop jointly with consortia ways of improving teaching and learning of agribusiness based on the findings above and on new lessons from the incubation process.

  1. Consortia Needs identified during visits
    As part of the implementation phase activities, visits were planned to each consortium with the following three objectives;

Familiarize with what consortia are doing
Explore opportunities for partnership
Strategize on how to work together in a win-win situation with consortia
The visits were made to CURAD (26th September 2012), ABP (27th September 2012), SVCDC (4th October 2012), CCLEAr (10th and 11th October 2012 and AgBIT 15th and 16thOctober 2012. WAARI was not visited due to the political situation in Mali hence this synthesis will be shared with WAARI to develop areas of convergence.

The following is a summary of the activities identified during the visits to be implemented jointly by ANAFE and partners during UniBRAIN implementation;

Improvement of the Internship and Attachment Programmes

All the consortia visited identified this as an area of collaboration. The ANAFE experience in managing internships during UniBRAIN Start-up phase will serve as a point of departure in implementing the internship programme. Since agribusiness internships are a new undertaking, the lessons learnt will be documented closely with a view of making improvements on the internship programme even as it gets underway. There will thus be need to look at each cohort of interns separately.

Documenting Incubator Experiences

The concept of incubation is new even though universities had many arrangements related to it. Given that the UniBRAIN incubators are a pilot phase, it will be necessary to analytically document the incubation experiences from each consortium with a view to project models of incubation that can be adopted by institutions. The unique challenges and settings of each consortium will be captured and analyzed to help in scaling out of the incubation process.

Developing Contextualized Learning Resources

Incubators provide a unique opportunity to develop agribusiness learning resources for practical teaching and guiding to enterprise development. Development of these resources will be a useful stage in scaling up and scaling out of the incubation process.

Skill Enhancement for Lecturers

There is no doubt that incubators are to bring new ways in which agribusiness is taught for enhanced practice. It will be necessary to enhance the skills of lecturers in adopting the new teaching methods and also tap from the input of the private sector in teaching agribusiness. ANAFE will work with the consortia to achieve this.

Lobbying University Leadership to Embrace New Agribusiness Approaches

The introduction of tripartite UniBRAIN incubators where universities are involved is a new concept that calls for a number of adjustments to be made. Since UniBRAIN has an expanded focus on not only making the incubators successful, but making them replicable as well, it is necessary that ways are sought to look at the areas that need adjustments and ways of making the adjustments possible so that university leadership supports them as their buy-in to the adjustments is vital for the success of sustainable incubation.

Undertaking Tracer Studies

ANAFE will work with incubators in tracing the beneficiaries from the incubation process including students on attachment, interns and incubatees. This will complement the current activity involving tracer study of agribusiness graduates in UniBRAIN consortia countries. The value added to graduates as they go through the incubation process will be examined, alongside the challenges they face and how these challenges can be addressed through curriculum reforms.

  1. UniBRAIN Partners
    Partners include the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), The African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE), Pan African Agribusiness Consortium (PanAAC), the Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in East and Central Africa (ASARECA), the African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) and the Centre for Coordinating Agricultural Research and Development in Southern Africa (CCARDESA) and the Agribusiness Incubator Initiative of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ABI-ICRISAT).

  2. Way Forward
    In moving into UniBRAIN Implementation, ANAFE will focus on the six areas identified jointly by ANAFE and the consortia. A review of progress made will be done at the end of each year and adjustments to intervention approaches made. ANAFE will work with consortia universities to have the lessons learnt the incubation process get into the curriculum of UniBRAIN consortia universities and other universities in Africa.


1.1. Description of the Action
1.1.1. Description

Agricultural research and development (R&D) in Africa has since colonial times focused on increasing productivity of a limited number of staple crops, in particular maize, wheat and rice, which combined account for 60% of global food energy intake. Scientific research has also put emphasis on commodities such as coffee, tea and tobacco, and a few roots and tubers, banana, legumes and pulses. Officially approved improved varieties of these crops, typically designed to fit high-input agricultural systems, have then been promoted among farmers via the official agriculture extension system. Although science and technology has brought about significant productivity gains in these crops, Africa’s level of hunger and malnutrition remains stubbornly high, partly due to the continent’s rapid population growth but also partly because the prevailing R&D approach has not served farmers well in agricultural systems in rain-fed, marginal areas. Food production per capita remained flat in the period 1961-2007 and the continent is a net food importer (Rakotoarisoa et al. 2012). The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has projected that Africa’s food production needs to double by 2050 to lift the continent out of the hunger trap (FAO 2009).Adding to this challenge is the realization that a more sustainable agricultural model is needed, that produces more from less by conserving resources, reducing negative impacts on the environment, and enhancing natural capital and the flow of ecosystem services (Collette et al. 2011).

The very rich diversity in food crops with which the African continent is endowed has in many ways been ignored by R&D, policies and strategies. But the fact is that for small scale farmers, in particularly those in marginal environments, hundreds of species of indigenous cereals, roots and tubers, legumes and pulses, vegetables, fruits and spices remain a very important part of the livelihood system (Frison et al 2011). In many cases these neglected and underutilized species (NUS) of crops and fruits can be superior to their industrial peers in terms of nutritional value, resilience to pests, diseases and climatic change and variability. Often, these are ‘women’s crops’—traditionally grown, collected and traded by female farmers and entrepreneurs. Farmers’ indigenous knowledge of NUS cropsisalso part of the cultural and culinary heritage. Due to very rapid agricultural, economic and demographic change this diversity and the related traditional knowledge is being eroded at an alarming rate (FAO 2010).Only recently have R&D initiatives and policy agendas started to recognize the current value and future potential of NUS crops and fruits.

In spite of their positive traits, the value chains of NUS crops often face problems related to their cultivation, processing or marketing, thus limiting their agronomic and market potential. Seed availability and quality, variability in growth and time to harvest, laborious post-harvest processing, un-developed supply chains, lack of standards for packaging and distribution, and a perception of being ‘poor man’s crops’ are but some of the typical problems constraining the commercialization of NUS crops.

Many of these problems could be addressed if an effective R&D system for such crops were in place that includes: i) scientific capacity to effectively interface and interact with stakeholders along the entire value chain in order to pose relevant research questions and address the typically multi-disciplinary problems facing their value chains; ii) policies that recognise the potential contribution of NUS crops for food security, nutrition and climate change adaptation, and strategies to implement these; iii) capacity of scientists and their organizations to communicate research results effectively to a wide range of stakeholders including the private sector; iv) a higher education system that develops adequate capacity among graduates to recognize the necessity to include the complementary contribution of NUS crops in agricultural development; v) leadership and institutional support to scientists, educators and value chain actors concerned with NUS R&D.

A replicable model for value chain upgrading

Research on NUS crops carried out by Bioversity International and its partners in Latin America, Africa and Asia on (Andean grains – Quinoa and Capsicum), Africa (African leafy vegetables) and Asia (minor millets), has resulted in a comprehensive methodology for value chain improvement. The methodology is multi-disciplinary to cover both agronomic and socio-economic aspects. It involves multiple sectors to address both agricultural, and health and nutrition dimensions. Above all, it is built on the participation of stakeholders, including marginalized communities and women (who often are the lead growers and traders of these minor crops.) The key experiences from four of these projects are summarized here, along with generalized lessons learned for up-scaling of these methods:

Andean grains – Quinoa

Agricultural biodiversity offers poor communities living in harsh environments options to improve their livelihoods, generate incomes, attain food security and enjoy better nutrition and health. The nutritional content of Andean grains, seen in their high quality proteins and rich micronutrient profile, their hardiness, good adaptability to environmental stresses, versatility in use, and rich associated food culture and traditions are among the reasons for their widespread use in the Andes and their appreciation by local civilizations over millennia. In spite of these positive traits, the role of these species as a staple food has dramatically changed in the last four decades due to their poor economic competitiveness with commodity cereal crops, lack of improved varieties or enhanced cultivation practices, drudgery in processing and value addition, disorganized or non-existent market chains and a widespread mistaken perception of their being the “food of the poor”. Launched in 2001, this initiative represented the first UN-supported global programme dedicated solely to the use enhancement of these species. This international, participatory, multi-stakeholder and highly multi-disciplinary effort contributed to strengthening the reliance of communities over their traditional resources and knowledge. Interventions were carried out in the following fields:

Participatory selection of higher yielding varieties, resistant to drought, frost, pests and diseases.
Reintroduction to farmers’ fields of more than 40 varieties of quinoa and canihua which had been lost.
Strengthening of ex situ conservation through gap filling germplasm collections in centres of diversity and characterisation, multiplication and regeneration of hundreds of accessions.
Documentation and rescuing of local knowledge and institutionalisation of Diversity Fairs to promote exchange of knowledge and genetic material.
Development of better cultivation practices, low cost technology for threshing and removal of saponin meant to reduce drudgery and increase household consumption of crops for nutrition security.
Assessment of the nutritional variation of target crops in raw and processed products and awareness raising among urban consumers along with popularisation in restaurant chains.
Development of national quality standards for the commercialization of target crops, allowing communities to enter into lucrative export markets.
Capacity building of community members over enhanced practices, value addition, nutrition and marketing, and development of collaborative platforms to scale up experiences and reinforce sustainability of use of target species.

The project, with was funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)has proven that Andean grains, like many other native crops from the Andes, can offer local populations profitable income opportunities provided that a more holistic and multi-disciplinary approach is though deployed for their promotion. As demand for functional foods and alternative non-food products (such as the industrial use of saponin) from Andean grains rises, more research is also needed for the development of community-based technologies along with capacity building interventions in order to empower farmers to benefit from these emerging opportunities. Greater linkages should be created between biodiversity-rich but economically poor regions of the Andes and tourism companies so as to promote sustainable, community-based eco-tourism initiatives (Jäger et al 2009).

Capsicum– Latin America

The project’s goal was to generate higher incomes for poor farmers in developing countries by taking better advantage of the largely untapped genetic diversity of the Capsicum crop’s center of origin. Focusing on the neglected and underutilized diversity of Capsicum peppers in Peru, the project effectively managed to bridge the gap between supply and demand by bringing together and strengthen capacities of different kinds of research, development and commercial institutions in a partnership that provided and integrated the critical components of a strong value chain, linking poor farmers to high-value markets. The project fostered the establishment of multi-disciplinary and multi-stakeholder value chain cooperation through the creation of a permanent platform on Capsicum at the national level in Peru and Bolivia. Such a mechanism has allowed research institutes and genebanks, small farmers’ associations, development agencies, private companies and local and national government agencies to coordinate their individual research, capacity building and development initiatives on Capsicum innovation. Germplasm collections were also carried out in Peru and Bolivia as well as screening of promising material for commercially valuable traits (morphological, taxonomic, sensorial and biochemical characterization). Public-private partnerships for new product development and market introduction were encouraged through the application of Participatory Market chain Approach (PMCA). Although the project focused on a specific geographic region and crop, this case demonstrate approaches and methods to address constraints to effectively harnessing agricultural diversity in Latin America and around the world (Jäger et al, 2010).

African leafy vegetables – Kenya

Bioversity scientists, in partnership with local research and development organizations, realized in the late 90ies the need to develop a strategy for conserving leafy vegetables through use to prevent them from becoming further marginalized and ultimately disappearing. The rationale of Bioversity’s intervention was that the enhancement of the use of African Leafy Vegetables (ALV) would create more demand for these nutritious local crops and thereby trigger more production of the resource.

ALV were rescued and promoted by collecting,characterizing, promoting and valuing theirdiversity; analyzing their nutritional compositionto determine their dietary potential; documentingthe indigenous knowledge on their cultivation anduse; identifying promising varieties and constraintsto seed availability and supply; and assessingtheir acceptance by consumers. These actionsincreased the demand, volume and number of ALVspecies grown by local farmers and available inlocal supermarkets. An impact assessment study of the project showed that over 60% of project participantsin one site reported that their net monthly incomefrom vegetables increased considerably due to thework on ALV, and sales at supermarkets in Nairobifor these products rocketed (Gotor, Irungu 2010).

Minor millets India

Plant genetic resources of minor millets are well suited to enhance resilience of local production systems and strengthen food and nutrition security, particularly among the rural poor. In India, the largest grower of minor millets in the world, the cultivation of these small-seeded millets has declined steadily over the past few decades due to their lower economic competitiveness with major commodity cereals. Finger millet, kodomillet, foxtail millet, little millet, proso millet and barnyard millet, have a wide genetic adaptation and are able to grow successfully in diverse soils, varying rainfall regimes, diverse photoperiods and in marginal, arid and mountainous terrains where major cereals have low success. They have the potential to thrive with low inputs and can withstand severe climatic stresses, thus being the best candidates to replace commodities like wheat and rice in areas where such crops may gradually become less competitive due to climate change. These qualities are combined with excellent nutritional values.

The project applied a range of methods that, combined, had positive effect on production, income and labour requirements. Skill development of rural and tribal women in developing value added millet products, maintaining acceptable hygiene standards, packaging, labelling and marketing and development of appropriate technologies were all important components of the work. Strategic and rule-based alliances with agencies and organizations having experience in marketing, processing and product development were facilitated. The project learnt that greater public awareness about the nutritional and other benefits from cultivation of these crops could be raised through awareness campaigns, exhibitions, farmers’ fairs, radio and TV programmes, workshops, conferences, symposia, publications, etc. by the research institutions, State Agricultural Universities and the agriculture development departments. Urgent attention needs to be given for promoting policies, laws and regulations that ensure that benefits from the increased use of millets reach communities, particularly women and other disadvantaged members of the society. Introduction of these grains in school feeding programmes has strategic advantage of using low cost grain to provide nutritionally superior meals to children (Padulosi et al 2009)

Generalized lessons learned and strategies for up-scaling

These projects have led to a replicable innovative model for identifying promising NUS crops and exploring opportunities for their sustainable commercial use. The approach is linking small scale farmers to existing and potential new high-value markets for the benefit of the poor, and is building networks to facilitate transfer of knowledge and technology between the stakeholders. Methods and approaches developed and tested by Bioversity and its partners are ready for being validated and up-scaled in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The achievements of these and other similar projectshave also contributed to growing international recognition of the need for adding NUS crops to the R&D portfolio. Their potential contributions towards agricultural sustainability, their nutritional properties, their climate change adaptive potential and their income generating potential are increasingly recognized and valued. To this end, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Plant Science Organization (EPSO), at an international workshop in June 2012 in Rome, identified underutilised/local fruits and vegetable crops as one of three priority areas for European and African scientific collaboration. In December 2012, at an international meeting in Cordoba, Spain, the Director General of FAO, Graziano da Silva, stressed that neglected and underutilized species “play a crucial role in the fight against hunger and are a key resource for agriculture and rural development,” and called for increased research on underutilized crops. He noted that “While some research is taking place, the results do not always reach smallholders”. Many NUS could offer better opportunities than mass commodity products, provided supply capacities are linked to market and marketing opportunities.

As mentioned, an earlier project under by the EU-ACP Science & Technology programme has begun to develop such capacity, under the project “Building human and institutional capacity for enhancing the conservation and use of Neglected and Underutilized Species of crops in West Africa, and Eastern and Southern Africa” , due to end in November 2013.[1] The project’s actions took place in Benin, Ghana in West Africa, and in Kenya, Malawi and Uganda in Eastern/Southern Africa, with training also targeting young scientists from Mali, Senegal and Nigeria in West Africa, and Ethiopia and Mozambique in Eastern/Southern Africa.The project is coordinated by the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM), and implemented in partnership with six African and two European organisations (five on which now collaborate on this proposed follow-up Action). The lessons from this project, outlined in the concept note, points at a set of needs that must to be addressed by the agriculture R&D system in order to make NUS research in Africa more effective, and for communicating results to policy makers, agriculture professionals, NGOs, the private sector and farmers.

This Action will address the recommendations and lessons learned as follows:

The very high demand for capacity development on NUS research will be addressed by offering training opportunities on value chain research proposal development and science communication in 15 additional countries. One of the courses will target West African Sahel and be offered in French. Two countries with weak scientific capacity, Malawi and Mozambique will get extended opportunity for training
The courses will particularly focus on multi-disciplinary value chain research, a pronounced weakness among scientists trained in a narrow niche of agricultural research. Similarly, the private sector perspectives will be emphasized.
The need for setting research priorities among NUS crops will be addressed through a national study in Zimbabwe, which will review past and on-going research projects, publications and literature. A national workshop of NUS stakeholder will give expert opinion and advice on priority setting within cereals, legumes and pulses, roots and tubers, leafy vegetables, and fruit.
The need for informing scientists and policy actors on the issues confronting the upgrading of NUS value chains will be addressed via innovation platform workshops in the three focus countries, Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe. These workshops will not only analyze blockages and constraints in the value chains of bambara groundnut and amaranth, they will also be a foundation for later dialogue with policy actors at sub-regional level during the Action. These crops are chosen because they are priorities in West, Eastern and Southern Africa, thus providing excellent ground for knowledge sharing, both regarding research, the use of research results for innovation, expansion of markets and strengthening the policy framework that facilitates these processes.
The needs for better capacity in NUS R&D among graduates will be addressed by a new curriculum development initiative, lead by ANAFE, an educational network of 132 universities and colleges across Africa. The study of NUS curricula, not included in the previous project, will now be added as a main vehicle for developing the capacity of future graduates in this field, and for sensitizing policies on higher agricultural education on the role and potential of agricultural diversification. This component will not only review curricula, but also promote a shift from rote learning to experiential learning, an expansion of multi-disciplinary perspectives and more emphasis on skills of working in participation with farmers and their local knowledge. Such educational change would support the Bonn Declaration on education for sustainable development (UNESCO 2009).
The need for knowledge sharing on NUS research, capacity and policy will be met by a nested approach with three focus countries. The national partners in these countries will serve as sub-regional hubs for knowledge sharing and policy dialogue. The Action will also contribute to regional-level knowledge sharing regarding higher education, and agricultural research and policy forums.

The proposed Action is organized around four interlinked results (Figure 1), which will lead to the achievement of two specific objectives:

Strengthened national and regional capacities for research, development, education on NUS value chain, and for communication of results to society
National and regional policy actors, research and education institutions in West -, East-, and Southern Africa informed on the role and benefits of deploying NUS into strategies and programmes for agriculture, nutrition and adaptation to climate change
These, in turn, will contribute to the Action’s overall objective: Enhanced value chains of neglected and underutilized species (NUS) in Africa contributing to improved food and nutritional security, income of small holder farmers and entrepreneurs and mitigation of, and adaptation to climatic, agronomic and economic risks.

fig 1

Figure 1: Results of the Action

The regional capacity building approach used in the previous EU-ACP project was very effective in sharing knowledge between neighbouring countries, and in creating networks and a critical mass of scientists working on the same priority crops. The proposed Action will expand this approach. A new focus country, Zimbabwe, will be added to coordinate capacity building and policy dialogue for six countries in the Southern Africa sub-region. Benin and Kenya will remain the focus countries in West and Eastern Africa, respectively. The proposed action will thus address the needs for strengthening the research capacity of scientists in 19 countries (Table 1), as well as influencing supportive policies and strategies.

Table 1. The Action’s target countries

Sub-region Partner Target countries
Eastern Africa University of Nairobi, Kenya Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan,
Southern Africa Africa University, Zimbabwe Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, South Africa and Mozambique
West Africa Laboratory of Agricultural Biodiversity and Tropical Plant Breeding (LAAPT), Benin Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, the Gambia, Togo and Ivory Coast

How results of the action will improve the situation for target groups

Scientists: Experience demonstratesthat young scientists show significant interest in NUS, but that their research is fragmented and often narrow, lacking a holistic perspective. Their experience in working in multiple disciplinary value chain research of NUS is limited. The Action will bring scientists and key value chain actors together for more relevant and more applicable R&D.In particular, scientists attending proposal writing/value chain workshops will be required to demonstrate that they have consulted with relevant stakeholders prior to their being accepted as participants. Inputs from stakeholders at the research conceptualisation stage will go a long way to ensure relevance of the research being proposed.

University lecturers and education leaders: The issues relating to NUS are, by and large, ignored in higher agricultural education programmes in Africa. Educators need further awareness of, methods for integrating NUS into curricula, and a range of institutional and capacity constraints needs to be addressed. The Action will invite stakeholders to participate in a regional workshop with the aim of making recommendations for integrating NUS and value chain methods into higher education curricula.

Policy actors: By and large, agricultural policy actors are rooted in a high-input agricultural paradigm that works for a narrow range of crops. As the international agenda increasingly emphasizes sustainable agriculture and points at the role of agricultural diversification as one element of this, there is a significant need to sensitizing policy actors. This Action will do this at national, sub-regional and regional levels, through consultations, communication and publications.

How results of the action will improve the situation for final beneficiaries

Final beneficiaries: Smallholder farmers, processors, traders, entrepreneurs, consumers and scientists, currently lacking adequate support for NUS development, will benefit from more effective participation in value chains, Results from scientists’ research projects made relevant by stakeholder consultation and scientists’ understanding of the dynamics of value chains would likely benefit value chain actors. Scientists careers will be enhanced through being able to demonstrate productivity through publications and through their research being relevant and thus increasing the possibility of putting their results into use. Many NUS are highly nutritious and expanded markets will benefit the diets of consumers. Many NUS are well adapted to marginal environments; in climate change scenarios, this will help to ensure food security and incomes in vulnerable regions and also will benefit all stakeholders along a value chain.

How technical and managerial capacities of target group (and local partners) will be enhanced

The experience of working within the framework of value chains will provide scientists with a holistic perspective that starts when a research project is being conceptualized. Even though research may seem at first sight to be relevant, the consequences of e.g. increased yields of a crop may not be advantageous to because of bottlenecks further along the value chain. A systems view of the value chain helps identify and consider such trade-offs, and therefore helps keeping research relevant and results applicable.

A second key competence to be developed through this Action is the ability to work with, and understand scientists and development specialists in other sectors. The courses will bring together biophysical scientists and socio-economists; agriculturists and nutritionists. By working together on team projects, they will learn to appreciate the knowledge that other disciplines bring to the table.

Foreseen publications

National status report on research, capacity and policies for NUS in Zimbabwe
Three national Action Plans on strategies for upgrading value chains of bambara groundnut and the leafy vegetables amaranth for Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe.
Proceedings from regional workshop on the teaching of NUS value chain development in higher agricultural education institutions.
Three policy briefs on NUS value chain development in West-, Eastern- and Southern Africa, respectively.
Curriculum guide on integrating NUS value chain into courses and programmes of African universities and technical colleges, or on-the-job training of staff in agricultural organizations.
Two learning case studies on NUS value chain development


The project design is illustrated in Figure 2 below.

fig 3

Figure 2: Project design

Activity 1.1 Inception workshop

A three-day project inception workshop, to be held in Nairobi, Kenya, will gather all EU and Africa project partners, as well as the Associates of the Action, in total 9 organizations. The purpose of the Activity is three fold: i) As a project team, to learn from Kenyans’ recent experience in upgrading value chains of neglected and underutilized crops and integrate these lessons in the project’s detailed activity plan; ii) to prepare a detailed project implementation plan, iii) to develop a clear and transparent administration mechanism for the project, especially regarding financial reporting. The workshop is also important for the coordination of actions between the three sub-regions West Africa, Eastern Africa, and Southern Africa.

Activity 1.2 National study of NUS in Zimbabwe

This Activity, led by Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe, has two functions: i) it will inform the project on current status and needs with regard to NUS research, policy and capacity in Zimbabwe; ii) it will raise awareness and interest among national stakeholders about the project. A baseline of current status of and needs for capacity of NUS research, with emphasis on value chain development, will be established using a combination of literature studies and interviews. The baseline report will then be presented at a one-day national stakeholder meeting and the findings verified or modified, as appropriate. The expected outputs include research needs on NUS value chains established, constraints to value chain upgrading identified, and priorities for research, development and policy to be established. A national status report on NUS R&D in Zimbabwe will be produced and be used in future project activities and communications. Such national studies were already conducted in Benin and Kenya in 2010 under a previous EU-ACP project. The national partners in Benin and Kenya continue to address the issues raised in these reports also in the current Action.

Activity 1.3 National innovation platform workshops on bambara groundnut and amaranth value chains in three countries

A priority setting in the earlier EU-ACP project identified bambara groundnut and amaranth as priority NUS in both West and East Africa. Literature surveys confirm that these crops are important in Southern Africa also. The need and potential for value chain upgrading is significant, but scientists working on these species typically lack experience of a broader value chain approach in their research, which tends to be fragmented and ‘narrow’. In particular, the research is lacking a business perspective both in the conceptualization of research and in the application of results. This activity aims to inform scientists and value chain actors on blockages and constraints to value chain upgrading, and farmers’ gainful participation in value chains. These constraints, whether they are research- , policy- or business-related issues will be analyzed. Each national partner in the three project countries – Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe – will perform a mapping exercise of the institutional landscape regarding key actors (farmer associations, research institutes, universities, private sector processors, retailers, NGOs, regional and national governments) for each target crop. These key actors will then be invited to a three-day innovation platform workshop in which a value chain analysis of constraints and bottlenecks will be performed and fields of upgrading/improvement be identified. Bioversity, IFS and ANAFE will play a facilitating role in these innovation platforms, each drawing on their own experiences from value chain research (Bioversity), individual/collaborative team research on NUS (IFS) and university-private sector linkages (ANAFE). A small number of outstanding young researches trained in the earlier EU-ACP project will be invited to share their experiences. The insights and outputs from the workshops will be used in a number of ways, within the project and beyond:

a list of pertinent research issues for each crop will be identified, which will inform future project proposal training courses in the natural and socio-economic sciences (Activity 3.1).
policy constraints and needs will be mapped out, which will inform and be further analyzed in sub-regional policy multi-stakeholder workshops (Activity 2.1) and communications activities (Activity 4.1).
capacity development needs will be listed, to be addressed in the projects training courses and curriculum development (Activity 2.3) and an inventory of other constraints to value chain development.

Activity 1.4 Prepare National Action Plans on value chain promotion for bambara groundnut and amaranth

Using the outputs of the innovation platform workshop (Activity 1.3), each national partner will furtheranalyze and validate the findings in consultation with relevant specialists. Three National Action Plans will be prepared, listing knowledge gaps to form the basis of future research projects, concepts for upgrading and comparison of value chain strategies, or for integrating NUS into strategies and programmes. Special efforts will be made to communicate these National Action Plans broadly.

Activity 2.1 Sub-regional policy multi-stakeholder workshops

We hypothesize that the detailed mapping of value chain upgrading strategies for bambara and amaranth in Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe will generate lessons that go beyond these crops and countries. The three national partners, with support from ANAFE, Bioversity and IFS, will organize three sub-regional multi-stakeholder policy workshops in West Africa, Eastern Africa and Southern Africa, respectively, early in Year 2. The workshops will target policy makers and technical advisers from agriculture, conservation and health and nutrition sectors, as well as the private sector and farmers’ organizations. The purpose is to present the National Action Plans, validate them in the light of broader agricultural development trends, and draw out sub-regional lessons for policy actors. By inviting a small number of researchers to the workshops they will also demonstrate the value of interfacing between the researchers and stakeholders to fine-tune research towards the relevant needs of target beneficiaries, and for formulating future training strategies.

The sub-regional policy workshops will target the following countries:

West Africa: Benin, the Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire
Eastern Africa: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi, South Sudan
Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Botswana, Zambia, South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique

Activity 2.2 Develop policy briefs to inform national and sub-regional strategies regarding NUS crops

The results of Activities 1.4 and 2.1 will be re-packaged into policy briefs, which will be shared widely at national and sub-regional events, and be promoted online (Action 4.1). The policy briefs will be produced jointly between the projects’ international partners: Bioversity, IFS and ANAFE, whereas dissemination of the policy briefs will be a shared responsibility among all project partners and associates.

Activity 2.3 Regional NUS curriculum workshop

Earlier studies of several of the project partners have found that the teaching of agrobiodiversity in higher education institutions is weak or absent in most institutions. The coverage of NUS crops, and the modern methods for upgrading their value chains are rudimentary. One of ANAFE’s key mandates is to contribute to increasing the relevance and quality of higher education in Africa. A curriculum development methodology that ANAFE has been promoting on related subjects such as agroforestry will be used for developing NUS curriculum guidelines. The method, DACUM – Developing ACurriculuM − is highly participatory and involves both educators and outside stakeholders, including private sector and farmers’ organizations. To this end, ANAFE will organize a 4-day workshop in Year 2.

The DACUM is a competence-based curriculum development method. The DACUM process enhances the ability of learners to meet specific objectives formulated according to set standards. The process works on the following principles:

Stakeholders (workers, employers, farmers) can define their job requirements more accurately than anyone else.
Any job can be effectively described in terms of the tasks that successful workers in that occupation perform.
A curriculum for a specialized training should aim at developing the required competencies for performing the identified tasks.
In order to be performed correctly, all tasks demand certain knowledge, skills and attitudes from workers.

The process goes through the planning stage, the in–situ DACUM training, analysis of the DACUM chart and course development. The process needs to be updated so that we incorporate new elements that ensure the training needs are adequately evaluated; taking into account development and environmental needs; assessing institutional settings; estimating resource requirements for implementation of new curriculum; focusing on competencies to be developed; adequate stakeholder representation and capturing multidisciplinary opportunities.

Activity 2.4 Develop NUS curriculum guidelines

The outputs of the regional NUS curriculum development workshop will be further elaborated into NUS curriculum guidelines. This publication will be flexible, and point at a number of options for integrating NUS into higher education courses or programmes, whether informally or through formal curriculum development in a university or technical college. The Guide should also be useful for in-the-job training of working professionals. The development of the Guide will be led by ANAFE, and be co-authored by the project partners. It will be promoted via the project’s communication strategy (Activity 4.1).

Activity 2.5 Write and publish learning cases on NUS value chain upgrading

One of the obstacles to teaching a new subject is often the lack of user-friendly training materials, especially material that lends itself to experiential learning (as opposed to teacher-centred rote learning). Using a learning case study approach, piloted by Bioversity on related topics, recent research on NUS value chain upgrading will be presented in compact, user-friendly learning cases that are suitable for a wide range of teaching and learning situations. Within this project two learning cases will be developed, under the leadership of Bioversity in collaboration with ANAFE.

Activity 3.1 Organize sub-regional project proposal training courses on NUS value chain research

This activity will address two related urgent training needs: to conceptualize and prepare convincing research proposals, and to apply a value chain approach in NUS research. Six training courses to conceptualize and prepare a good scientific research proposal on NUS value chain research will be held during the Action, one course per sub-region in Year 1, and a second course in Year 2. Each course will have 25 participants, equally distributed by gender.

All courses will be organized and implemented jointly by IFS, the national partners in the respective sub-region, and Bioversity. ANAFE will facilitate the participation of its member institutions in the target countries which are all members of its network. The courses will follow routes that were successfully tested in the previous EU/ACP-funded project. This is as follows:

A call for concept notes will be issued detailing the focus and specific researchable questions arising from the National innovation platform workshops in Activity 1.3.
Applicants will be required to write a Concept Note of one or two pages outlining a project with potential for submission to IFS’ Granting Programme. (An IFS Research Grant has a maximum value of USD 12,000 and a duration of 1-3 years). A pre-condition of participation will be that the candidate must consult with relevant stakeholders when conceptualizing their research project outlined in the concept note and evidence of this must be demonstrated.
The proposed research should address research topics related to the upgrading of value chains of one of the focus NUS crops. The themes will be related to the researchable questions identified at national innovation platform workshops (Activity 1.3).
The Concept Notes will be assessed by a joint panel from IFS, Bioversity, ANAFE, and the national partners. At least 25 successful applicants will be invited to the proposal writing workshop.
Selected participants are required to prepare a draft research proposal prior to the workshop, using the IFS application form.
The course will mentor the applicants regarding their research proposals, research methods, etc, and hone their skills in writing quality proposals, thus preparing participants to submit their proposals to the IFS Granting Programme
The course will be combined with an introduction to understanding and analysing value chain training (see below).
Following the workshop, when participants submit a proposal to IFS, they must show evidence of having consulted further with the relevant value chain actors and consequently explain how their projects are relevant to a particular value chain problem.
The participants will also be mentored after the workshop to help strengthen the proposals, if necessary (see Activity 3.2)
Applications for an IFS Research Grant will be screened according to the normal IFS process, including assessment by (independent) IFS Scientific Advisers and recommendations from the (independent) IFS Scientific Advisory Committees. The timeframe from the application deadline to final decisions on awarded grants is roughly 6-7 months.
Successful proposals will be approved and contracts will be signed with the new IFS grantees and their institutions.

Activity 3.2 Expert evaluation of proposals for granting programmes

Through the scientific networking strengthened through Action 3.1, young scientists will gain access to experts who will review and evaluate proposals. Evaluators and mentors will be made available through Partners and Associates, including the independent Scientific Advisers at IFS and its independent Scientific Advisory Committees, and scientists linked to Crops For the Future. These resources will be made available as in-kind contributions to the project.Such mentoring is particularly valuable to young NUS researchers because mentors might not be available in his/her institution. The mentoring programme will continue throughout the duration of the Action, and will be advertised in workshops, courses and meetings, as well as on Internet Platforms (See Activity 4.1). Periodic ‘auditing’ will help to resolve any problems which arise in these projects, identify any needs to provide expert advice and so assure continuation of the projects and maximise the opportunities for satisfactory outcomes.

Activity 3.3 Organize sub-regional courses on scientific communication

Three training courses on effective scientific writing and communication of research results will be held during this Action. The course for Eastern Africa will be held in Year 2 at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. The course for West Africa will be organized by The Laboratory of Agricultural Biodiversity and Tropical Plant Breeding (LAAPT), Benin, jointly with ANAFE in Year 2. Finally, the course for Southern Africa will be held in Zimbabwe the University of Africa,also in partnership with ANAFE… For all courses, IFS and Bioversity International will play a key role in advising on the content and delivery of the course, building on past experience from similar courses. Each course will invite 25 participants who have a documented research interest in the specific priority NUS crops and processes for value chain upgrading. The target countries will be identical to those in Activity 3.2 (see Table 1). The participants would be drawn preferentially, but not exclusively, from those who took part in the proposal preparation courses and who submitted a quality project proposal to IFS.

The course content will emphasize two kinds of science communication, the rationale for which is given below: i) Publishing in scientific journals; and ii) Popularizing science/policy briefs:

i) Publishing in scientific journals: a critical aspect of the scientific process is the reporting of new results in scientific journals in order to disseminate that information to the larger community of scientists. Communication of results contributes to the pool of knowledge within a discipline (and others) and very often provides information that helps others interpret their own experimental results. Most journals accept papers for publication only after peer review by a small group of scientists who work in the same field and who recommend the paper be published (usually with some revision).

The experience of all the partners in this application is that a degree of academic isolation dissuades a large proportion of researchers in Sub-Saharan Africa from developing first drafts through to completion for submission of a manuscript to a reputable scientific journal. In the absence of a supervisor who is experienced and prepared to assume the role of mentor in this regard, scientific writing workshops are expedient alternatives. The participatory workshops, in which attendees would obligatorily bring drafts of a chosen scientific paper for improvement during the course, would cover the following topics:

General guidelines; title; abstract; rules for scientific writing; using an outline to prepare your paper; description of an outline; value of the outline; developing the outline; word usage in scientific writing; grammar ; active versus passive voice in writing ; when to use the active voice; when to use the passive voice; active-passive exercise; writing the Introduction; writing the methods; writing the results and discussion; results section; numbers and statistics; tables; figures; discussion section; preparing the reference section; examples of citation formats; examples of reference formats; answers to active-passive exercise; sources for further information; websites; book sources.

ii) Popularising science/policy briefs: is an interpretation of scientific matters intended for a general audience. This can be in many formats, e.g. for newspapers, magazines, radio, TV etc., but the goal is to inform the target audience so that they understand precisely the nature of the scientific subject matter as well as the opportunities to society that the science in question may offer. Scientists themselves often find that they have to do this in order to, e.g. engage stakeholders which is particularly important in the project being proposed, or to source funding for a project or to simply inform the public about research being undertaken which the public themselves are (indirectly) funding through taxation. Writing policy briefs is another form of popularising science, the specific aim being to convince the targetaudience of the importance of a current problem and the need to adopt the course of action proposed.

Activity 4.1 Develop and implement a project communication strategy

Tools, research methods, training manuals and approaches for NUS research will be published and made available electronically on a web platform, and will include training manuals on i) data management and experimental design, and ii) value chain analysis. Bioversity will take the lead in the development of these resources, in close cooperation and engagement with all partners. ANAFE and IFS in particular will be closely involved.

The rationale: Research capacity, particularly with regard to holistic, inter-disciplinary and value-chain research is frequently weak. Toolkits, methodological guides and reference materials to support and backstop training and available in one location, will help to improve this.

A key component of this activity is the continued development and maintenance of NUS content on the partners’ websites, which will serve as the information gateway to these services. A separate section will be developed on the website to host the ‘research support’ tools, such as the training manuals.The ANAFE websites will also serve as a repository for such information, while that of IFS permits communication between invited scientists and stakeholders and also provides a private “space” for, e.g. NUS entrepreneurs who need to maintain the confidentiality of their communications.

Activity 4.2 Organize side-event on NUS at an African international meeting

In Year 3, the project partners, lead by ANAFE will organize a side-event on NUS research, development and policy. The side event will be held during CORAF/WECARD or ASARECA Science Weeks occurring every 3 to 4 years, or during the next Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development (GFAR). Each of these scientific events usually brings together more than 300 participants from all over the world. Other opportunities could be also seized to present the projects and its outcomes, such as the ANAFE symposium on Managing risks and Agribusiness planned for 2014, the FARA General Assembly to be held in 2016 or the World Congress of Agroforestry planned for 2016.

Activity 4.3 End-of-project workshop

And end-of-project workshop will be organized back-to-back with Activity 4.2. The workshop will bring together stakeholders including researcher, academicians, graduates, private sectors, farmer organizations, etc. from all participating countries, but also from non target countries. The media from the country hosting the workshop will be invited to increase the visibility of the project outcomes. The workshop will critically review the outputs and results of this Action, with the aim of i) documenting lessons learned; ii) making recommendations for further strengthening NUS research capacity; iii) making recommendations for enhancing science communication and knowledge sharing on NUS research and marketing; and, iv) advising education and R&D policies on strategies for mainstreaming NUS, and in particular value chain approaches, into higher education, on-the-job training, and R&D programmes and strategies.


Collette L, Hodgkin T, Kassam A, Kenmore P, Lipper L, Nolte C, Stamoulis K, Steduto P. 2011. Save and grow. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome.

FAO 2009.How to feed the world in 2050. Issue brief. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

FAO 2010.The 2010 FAO State of the World Report on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture

Frison EA, Cherfas J, Hodgkin T, 2011. Agricultural biodiversity is essential for a sustainable improvement in food and nutrition security. Sustainability, Vol 3-1, pp 238-253

Gotor E, Irungu C. The Impact of Bioversity International’s African Leafy vegetables Programme in Kenya. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 28(1):41-55. April 2010.

Jäger M, Padulosi S, Rojas W, Valdivia R. New Life for Ancient Grains: Improving Livelihoods, Income and Health of Andean Communities. Tropentag Congress. 6-8 October 2009. Hamburg, Germany.

Jäger M, Scheldeman X, Van Zonneveld M. 2010. Linking Gene Banks and Small Farmers to High Value Markets – the Example of Capsicum Diversity in Peru and Bolivia.Tropentag Congress. 14-16 September 2010. Zurich, Switzerland

Rakotoarisoa MA, Iafrate M, Paschali M, 2012. Why has Africa become a net food importer? Explaining Africa agricultural and food trade deficits Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Rome.

Padulosi S, Bhag Mal, S Bala Ravi, J Gowda, KTK Gowda, G Shanthakumar, N Yenagi and M Dutta. Food Security and Climate Change: Role of Plant Genetic Resources of Minor Millets. Indian J. Plant Genet.Resour. 22(1): 1-16 (2009).

Temu AB,Kasolo W. 2001. Reviewing curricula—rationale, process and outputs: ANAFE experience with the DACUM method in Africa. Available at: Accessed on 10th January, 2013.

UNESCO 2009.Bonn Declaration.UNESCO World conference on education for sustainable development. On-line:

1.1.2. Methodology
The fundamental principle behind this Action is drawn from the insights from recent research projects that upgrading value chains of NUS crops requires a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder approach, and a strong gender perspective. For example, biophysical scientists will need to collaborate effectively with socio-economic scientists; agriculture specialists need to work with nutritionists and public health experts. Crucially, the R&D problems need to be identified and prioritized in participation with a wide range of stakeholders, including the private sector and farmers’ organizations.

All this contrasts starkly with the findings from the earlier mentioned EU-ACP project in which five of the partners in this proposed Action are involved: the young scientists trained were mostly working on a narrow part of the value chain with limited links with downstream or upstream stakeholders. To break this pattern, this Action will carry out a deep analysis at the national level of value chains of two priority NUS crops: bambara groundnut and amaranth, an African leafy vegetable. National innovation platforms that gather a wide range of stakeholders will identify constraints in the value chains, and agree on upgrading strategies. This will be done in 3 countries: Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe, each representing one sub-region. West-, Eastern- and Southern Africa, respectively.

The knowledge gained from the national value chain upgrading strategies will be used in several ways in subsequent project Activities, at national, sub-regional and regional levels:

At national level, National Action Plans for NUS value chain development will be prepared, outlining how the identified constraints could be addressed through research, capacity building, public-private-partnerships or policy change.
At sub-regional level, the insights in value chain upgrading will be discussed with stakeholders in the West, Eastern and Southern Africa sub-regions, seeking to validate the funding in order to generate policy advice.
Also at the sub-regional level, the researchable questions identified will form the basis for the selection of participants in sub-regional project proposal writing workshops. The courses will at the same time serve as a knowledge sharing mechanism from the three focus countries to scientists and their institutions in 15 African countries.
At the regional level, the Action will use a methodology for informing curricula of higher agriculture education used by one of the project partners, the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE). The methodology, Developing A Curriculum (DACUM) emphasizes participation of stakeholders in defining competences – knowledge, skills and attitudes – required in graduates. This is then used to outline the objectives and learning elements in a new or a revised curriculum. A flexible curriculum guide for NUS education will then be written and disseminated.
Finally, the project will develop a joint communication strategy, using existing partners’ websites, for economy and sustainability, rather than creating new ones. In Year 3 of the project, a side-event at a key African agriculture conference/event will be organized to share knowledge widely.
A project steering committee consisting of representatives of all partners and associate organizations will be established at the project’s Inception workshop. Parts of the committee will also meet in connection with implementation of project activities, as well as virtually.

The project will also closely study the forthcoming final report and evaluations of the above mentioned related EU-ACP project, to draw additional lessons, which will be built into the detailed design of the Action’s activities.

For a project of this nature and duration, and evaluation cannot be carried out within the project implementation period.

Organisational structure and the team proposed for the implementation of the action

The project implementation team includes the following functions (Table 2):

Table 2. Partners and their roles

Partner Description Roles in the Action Staff involved in the Action
Bioversity International – EU partner International research organization specializing in R&D on the conservation and use of agricultural biodiversity Project management; Methods for value chain upgrading; Co-facilitation of training courses; co-responsible for communication · Project Manager
· Senior Scientist/NUS specialist

· Value chain specialist

· Communications specialist

International Foundation for Science (IFS) – EU partner International foundation that supports the development of scientific capacity in low- and mid- income countries Member of project steering committee; Leading of training courses on project proposal writing and scientific communication; co-responsible for communication · Research adviser #1
· Research adviser #2

African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE) — ACP partner International non-profit organization, with a mandate to strengthen the quality and relevance of higher agricultural education in Africa. Has 132 members in 37 African countries Member of project steering committee; Leading of Activity 3 on higher education curricula. Leading activities to inform and influence policy makers at the regional level. Co-responsible for communication · Executive Secretary
· Network Manager

· Communications officer

Africa University, Zimbabwe; University of University; LAAPT, Benin Academic institutions, with research and education programmes on agricultural biodiversity Member of project steering committee; Lead national innovation platform processes; Develop National Action Plans for value chain upgrading; Validation and sharing of knowledge at sub-regional level; Policy influence Each of the three national partners will involve one Project Manager for national and sub-regional activities.
Additionally, Africa University will involve one Senior Lecturer

The Action also has three Associate organizations (Table 3):

Table 3. Associate organizations and their roles

Associate Description Roles in the Action
Excel Hort Consult Ltd (EHC) A registered company that specializes in agribusiness and agro industry value chain development and trade in East and Central Africa Support and strengthen the capacity of value chain platform of actors using designed models for facilitating access to market and agribusiness trade
Global Horticulture Initiative (GlobalHort) Global facility for coordinated horticultural research that provides solutions towards increasing health, productivity and safety in sustainable environments, to uplift the quality of life of the poorest populations in the world. Monitoring and back stopping, using experts from its various Board member organizations. – Facilitating communication and knowledge exchange at regional level.

The West and Central African council for Agricultural Research and Development (CORAF/WECARD) International Association with an objective to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of small-scale producers and promote the agribusiness sector. To facilitate project implementation in West and Central Africa through the NARS of the target/beneficiary countries

The main means proposed for the implementation of the action

The implementation of the Action requires office space (provided in kind by partners), and resources and facilities for organizing workshops and meetings, including office supplies and communication facilities. Travel will be required for national and international participants in courses and workshops. Human resources is a key input for capacity development, facilitation of value chain innovation platforms, and policy dialogue. Information and communication infrastructure will be required for implementing the projects communications strategy; we will use the partners’ existing websites and also those of associated organizations.

Attitudes of all stakeholders towards the action in general and the activities in particular

All partners have participated enthusiastically in the design of the project and its activities. It is perceived as a value-added component to partners’ research, education and development mandates.

Planned activities in order to ensure the visibility of the action and the EU funding.

A strong web-based communications strategy will be developed in Year 1, using partners and associates existing websites. A team of communications specialists in the Partner organizations will be set up,lead by a senior Knowledge Management Officer at Bioversity International, Projects activities will be advertised broadly via partners’ extensive mailing lists, and via Websites of like-minded organizations. The range of knowledge products, including policy briefs, produced during the Action will be broadly available on partners’ websites. Visibility actions are also planned in connection with major African agriculture conferences/events. Finally, the calls for applications for the six training courses will also serve as important project visibility instruments.

1.1.3. Duration and indicative action plan for implementing the action (max 4 pages)
The duration of the action will be 36 months.

Year 1
Semester 1 Semester 2
Activity M 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Implementing body
Preparation Activity 1.1 Inception workshop X X Bioversity
Execution Activity 1.1 Inception workshop X Bioversity
Preparation Activity 1.2 National study, Zimbabwe X Africa University
Execution Activity 1.2 National study, Zimbabwe X X Africa University
Preparation Activity 1.3. National innovation platform workshops X X Bioversity, Africa University; LAAPT, University of Nairobi;
Execution Activity 1.3. National innovation platform workshops X X Bioversity Africa University; LAAPT, University of Nairobi;
Execution Activity 1.4 Writing 3 national Action Plans on bambara and amaranth value chains X X X Africa University; LAAPT, University of Nairobi;
Preparation Activity 3.1 Sub-regional NUS project proposal writing training X X X IFS, Africa University, LAAPT University of Nairobi, Bioversity, ANAFE
Execution Activity 3.1 Sub-regional NUS project proposal writing training X X IFS, Africa University, LAAPT University of Nairobi, Bioversity, ANAFE
Preparation Activity 4.1 Communication X X X Bioversity, ANAFE, IFS
Execution Activity 4.1 Communication X X X Bioversity, ANAFE, IFS

For the following years:
Activity Semester 3 4 5 6 Implementing body
Activity 1.5 Sub-regional policy multi-stakeholder workshops X Africa University, LAAPT, University of Nairobi, ANAFE

Activity 1.6 Develop policy briefs to inform national and sub- regional strategies on NUS X Africa University, LAAPT University of Nairobi,
Activity 2.1Regional NUS curriculum development workshop X X ANAFE
Activity 2.2 Develop curriculum guidelines X X X ANAFE
Activity 2.3 Develop NUS learning cases X X X Bioversity
Activity 3.1 Sub-regional NUS project proposal writing training X IFS, Africa University, LAAPT; University of Nairobi;Kenya, Benin, Bioversity, ANAFE
Activity 3.2 Expert evaluation of proposals for granting programmes IFS, Bioversity
Activity 3.3 Sub-regional scientific writing and communication training X IFS, Africa University, LAAPT; University of Nairobi;Kenya, Benin, Bioversity, ANAFE
Execution Activity 4.1 Communication X X X X Bioversity, ANAFE, IFS in collaboration with national partners
Activity 4.2. Side event on NUS at African conference X X ANAFE
Activity 4.3 End of project workshop X Bioversity

1.1.4. Sustainability of the action (max 3 pages)
Expected impact of the action

The results of the action are expected to contribute to the following changes in behaviour in the key target groups (Outcomes):

National and Institutional policies, strategies and programmesare becoming supportive of NUS R&D.
Significantly increased sub-regional and regional collaboration among scientists and institutions on value chain development of two priority crops: bambara groundnut and amaranth.
Scientists and leaders of NARS and universities applying multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder R&D programmes on NUS in their programmes of work.
Universities and technical colleges strengthen their curricula and teaching methods on value chain development of NUS crops, using multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder processes.
Leaders of regional & sub-regional agricultural bodies and educational networks include and address NUS dimensions in African agricultural development frameworks and forums.
In the longer term these changes are expected to contribute to impacts that include:

Increased production, consumption and commercialization of NUS crops, contributing also to the conservation of genetic resources on farms.
A recognized role of NUS in enhancing the resilience of agricultural and social systems, including climate change adaptation.
Increased income of rural households, processors and traders, many of which are women, from more efficient and equitable value chains of NUS crops
Increased recognition of African NUS in agricultural, food and nutritional strategies and policies
Enhanced resilience of agricultural systems and adaptation to climatic, agronomic and economic risks.

Dissemination plan and possibilities for replication

The project design has an in-built scaling out mechanism: National Action Plans for value chain upgrading of two crops of regional importance will be prepared in one country in each sub-region: Benin, Kenya and Zimbabwe. The findings will be presented to agricultural policy makers, universities and private sector stakeholders in sub-regional workshops in Year 2 and in a regional meeting in Year 3.

Similarly, the actions on studying NUS value chain education will be done in 3 subregions, with broad participation of key stakeholders. The results will then be synthesized at the African level. Curriculum guidelines will be prepared, published and disseminated within an Africa-wide university network, managed by one project partner,ANAFE.

All project partners will disseminate project results and outputs through their respective websites.By working with existing partner organizations and networks, such as ANAFE, there is an established infrastructure for sharing the result of the Action with ANAFE’s 132 member universities in 37 countries. This will contribute to the integration of knowledge on NUS in educational curricula and research programmes and scaling out of lessons learned from the multi-stakeholder/innovation platforms and value chain upgrading. ANAFE has established an on-line repository of information to which all relevant information, manuals training materials etc. will be freely available.

At the national level, the three national partner universities/institutes will integrate project results into their institutional mandate of knowledge sharing for local and national development.

Risk analysis and contingency plan

The project is associated with relatively low risks. An earlier EU-ACP project (referred to above), has successfully tested the capacity building approach the proposed action will geographically expand to 15 additional countries. There are strong indications that there is a very high interest for the type of capacity building that the project offers.

The impact of capacity development, however, is always linked to the institutional environment to which trainees will return. The main risks are associated with inadequate institutional support such as leadership and resources, hampering application of new skills. Many NUS scientists also work in relative isolation, lacking colleagues to interact with. Such risks will be mitigated by stimulating Internet-based collaboration among teams of scientists using tools such as Moodle and Podio, to involve, inform and raise awareness in institutional leaders about the benefits of NUS, and to work towards embedding NUS and value chain education at the tertiary level.

The environmental risks are small. In fact, the project aims to counter genetic erosionby strengthening the conservation of NUS crops on farms by making them more profitable for small scale farmers to grow instead of relying solely on major commodities such as rice, wheat, maize and bananas.Unlike major commodity crops, NUS, not having been bred for productivity at the expense of the loss of other important natural characteristics, such as natural pest and disease resistance, have a lower environmental footprint as far as the need for pesticide applications is concerned.

The financial risks related to the sustainability of the action relate to the funding allocation in national research systems, and donor institutions, which is largely beyond the control of the project. However, forty years of supporting carefully selecting researchers and helping them to become established as scientists nationally and internationally by IFS has consistently shown that a proportion of them are able to source ambitious funding for their research interests.

The risks related to political instability and conflicts are low to medium. The project has geographical flexibility since regional actions could be organized in alternative countries. The political risks could involve political instability in one or more of three selected focus countries. Kenya is approaching an election, which could lead to instability but on the last such occasion, international programmes were not significantly interrupted. Zimbabwe has recently stabilized and bounced back somewhat after years of economic decline and loss of human capital. That improved situation may not persist. At the regional level, the unstable political situation in Mali may hinder scientists’ and policy actors participation in project activities.

Economic risks are limited, since the project is primarily dealing with low-input crops that do not require large investments. Four of the partners have a solid history of successful collaboration with the Applicant, the fifth partner, Africa University is new, but is an established well-regarded private university in Zimbabwe. All partners have included an accountant in their project team.

Upgraded value chains, functioning more efficiently could sustain their innovation platform approach through self-financing,

Social risks are small. Work on NUS strives to enhancing social cohesion and collaboration with stakeholders, building trust and equity. NUS are also often seen as ‘women’s crops’, thus adding a positive gender effect when their value chains are strengthened.

Main preconditions and assumptions during and after the implementation phase.

The earlier EU-ACP project identified sub-regional priority species of NUS crops in need of enhancement through R&D and capacity development. The project found that there is a great interest in NUS research in Africa, but that existing research is highly fragmented. In particular, scientists lack lacking holistic value chain perspective and a view that their research is addressing constraints to successful NUS-based business. Their experience in working in teams with peers from other disciplines is limited, such as biophysical with socioeconomic scientists, or agronomists with nutritionists. There is also a generally weak ability to consult with stakeholders in the conceptualization of research, leading to research which is not sufficiently applicable.

In higher education institutions, earlier work of Bioversity International has shown that underutilized crops are not emphasized in agricultural education. Courses that address the special needs of and conditions for NUS value chain research are rare.

At the international level organizations such as FAO, and the European Plant Science Organizations and other actors are increasing their attention to NUS crops for a number of reasons, and UN has declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa, an Andean NUS crop that is recently commercialized.

Policies on climate change adaptation, and health & nutrition are taking an increasing interest in the role of NUS

Financial, institutional and policy sustainability after the action

This project primarily concerns developing young scientists’ capacity to use a value chain approach in designing and implementing research-for-development activities on NUS crops. By training them in project proposal writing, their success-rate in funding their own research is increased.The scientists trained in the various workshops will also become trainers and they will be encouraged to conduct their own follow-up workshops, rendering these elements of the project self-sustaining. Through IFS support for their research projects both financial and mentoring and possibly through travel grants; these scientists have an opportunity to establish their careers nationally and internationally. Some of these scientists will become acknowledged experts in their fields and as such will access more ambitious funding for their departments and thus be in a position to train their own students and employees as well as expanding research inputs into NUS and their value chains,

The project deliberately works with existing networks, institutions and regional organizations, rather than establishing new ones. To this end ANAFE will disseminate the projects’ products and processes for strengthening higher agricultural education via its own regional, sub-regional and national networks that cover 37 African countries.

As for the policy level advice, the project is working with the key African agriculture organizations, including FARA, ASARECA and CORAF/WECARD, who will assist in communicating results and informing policy instruments such as Science Agenda for African Agriculture

Environmental sustainability

One of the primary drivers behind R&D on NUS crops is the widely reported loss of agricultural diversity of these crops, and their wild relatives, associated with agricultural and demographic change, and a perception that NUS are ‘poor men’s’ crops’. By building capacities and influencing policies and strategies that lead to the commercialization of NUS crops, their conservation on farms will also be enhances. Moreover, NUS crops are often grown in low-input systems, thus providing fewer negative environmental externalities compared to high-input systems.


ANAFE Partners

The following are links to partners, donors, institutions that we work with as well as links to our partners that deal with agroforestry education.

Northern partners

SIDA – Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
SLU – Swedish University of Agriculture Sciences
NORAD – Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation
SupAgro – Montpelier (Download – Télécharger)
Agropolis International
Réseau International Formation Agricole et Rurale (FAR)

African regional and sub-regional organizations

New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)
Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA)
Association for strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA)
African Forest Research Network (AFORNET)
The African Forest Forum
National Forest Programme

CGIAR and International organizations

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF)
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)
African Rice Center (WARDA)
Bioversity International
Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical (CIAT)
International Maize and Wheat Improvement Centre (CIMMYT)
International Potate Center (CIP)
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA)
International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)
International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)
International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
World Fish Center

Tailoring tertiary agricultural education for sustainabledevelopment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Opportunities andchallengesS. Chakeredza1*, A.B. Temu2, J.D.K. Saka3, D.C. Munthali4, K. Muir-Leresche5, F.K. Akinnifesi1,O.C. Ajayi1 and G. Sileshi11World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30798, Lilongwe 3, Malawi.2World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P.O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.3 Chancellor College, University of Malawi, P.O. Box 280, Zomba, Malawi.4Botswana College of Agriculture, Private Bag 0027, Gaborone, Botswana.5136 Rocklands Rd, Rooiels, P.O. Box 343, Betty’s Bay, Cape Town, South Africa.Accepted 4 July, 2008Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic growth hinges on the development and promotion of a vibrant andsustainable agricultural production base. The prime movers for sustainable agricultural productioninclude: availability of improved technologies, human capital, sustainable growth of biological andnatural resource capital, improvement in performance of supporting institutions and favourableeconomic policy environment. Central to making these components operational is the production ofsuitable graduates, who are (i) technologically competent and relevant, ii) equipped with the necessary“soft skills” and business skills and (iii) able to work with local and especially rural communities. In thispaper we review the current weaknesses in the tertiary agricultural education system and propose thenecessary changes to be instituted. It is projected that the number of hungry people in Africa willcontinue to increase further in the 2020s. To turn the continent around, tertiary agricultural educationmust be transformed. Issues of faculty retention, institutional management, curricula content andeducation delivery, urgently require review and re-designing. We demonstrate the “best practices”which if replicated on a wide scale can move the continent in the desired direction.Key words: Sub-Saharan Africa, tertiary agricultural education, curricula content and delivery, institutionalmanagement.INTRODUCTIONThe livelihood situation in Africa has been described asdire and deteriorating (Diao et al., 2006). Africa is theonly continent where hunger and poverty are projected toget worse. Statistics show that 80% of all Africans live ona daily income of less than US$ 2 while nearly halfstruggle to survive on US$ 1 a day or less. More than 200million Africans now suffer from malnutrition (Rosegrantet al., 2005).If change is going to be achieved in Sub-SaharanAfrica (SSA), then agriculture, particularly small holderagriculture has to be made to work. From the NationalLevel (through Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers), tothe continental level (through the Comprehensive AfricaAgricultural Development Programme) to the global level(Millennium Development Goals; Von Braun et al., 2004),the small holder sector has been shown to be pivotal foreconomic development. The New Partnership for AfricanDevelopment (NEPAD) has the ambition to achieve a 6%annual growth in agricultural GDP over the next 20 years.However, the attainment of this growth level requiresfundamental changes in the agricultural institutions andpractices, including substantial improvements and invest-ments in agricultural research, extension and education.Central to the desired transformation is the need toincrease the productivity and competitiveness of Africanagriculture. The paper proposes a vision focused on pre-paring professionals capable of leading change, with uni-versities playing their roles in the development process.
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Thus we review the role of agriculture in development ofSSA and identify best practices in agricultural educationthat can be improved and scaled up. We conclude byproposing agenda for progressive action to-wards realisa-tion of the goal for the production of agricultural gra-duates who will be relevant to the current socio-eco-nomic conditions prevalent in the greater SSA.ROLE OF AGRICULTURE IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICADEVELOPMENTAgriculture remains the foundation of SSA’s dominanteconomic activity accounting for 40% of GDP, 15% ofexports and 60 to 80% of employment (Diao et al., 2006).Productivity of African agriculture over the last two de-cades has generally stalled. Per capita output of staplefoods continues to fall and the continent is steadily losingits world market shares for major export crops like coffee,tea and cocoa. Improving performance of Africa’s stag-nating agricultural sector is a key to solving the problemsof hunger and poverty. The only way of ensuringimproved African agriculture is ensuring that the primemovers for its development are in place.Prime movers to agricultural developmentRukuni (2002) lists five basic prime movers which shouldwork in a concerted manner to achieve sustainableagricultural development. These include:• New technology produced by public and private invest-ments in agricultural research or imported from theglobal research system and adapted to local con-ditions. Human capital in the form of professional,managerial and technical skills produced by invest-ments in schools, agricultural colleges, faculties ofagriculture and on the job training and experience.• Sustained growth of biological capital (genetic andhusbandry improvements of livestock herds, crops,forests, plantations and so on) and physical capitalinvestments (large and small dams, irrigation, grainstores and roads).Improvements in the performance ofinstitutions such as marketing, credit, research, exten-sion and land reform.• Favourable economic policy environment.*Corresponding author. E-mail: +265(0)1 707329. Fax: +265 (0)1 707319.Abbreviations: BCA, Botswana College of Agriculture; EARTH,Escuela de Agricultura de la Región Tropical Húmeda; NEPAD,New Partnership for African Development; RUFORUM,Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agri-culture; SEMCIT, Sustainability, Education and the Manage-ment of Change in the Tropics; SEP, Supervised EnterpriseProject; SSA, sub-Saharan Africa.Chakeredza et al.327No single prime mover, such as new technology or higherprices can increase agricultural production and sustain itfor any period of time. However, central to making theprime movers operational is the production of necessaryhuman resources to man the different institutions whichwill “get agriculture moving”.Tertiary agricultural educationHigher education in agriculture and natural resourcemanagement plays a particularly significant role innational development (Maguire, 2000). The major focusof tertiary agricultural education has been on the produc-tion of public sector employees (Muir-Leresche and Scull-Carvalho, 2006). Traditionally, graduates have largelyfound employment in ministries of agriculture, univer-sities, state operated enterprises and other governmentfunctions. Agricultural graduates have worked as policyadvisers, lecturers, researchers, extension workers, busi-ness managers and financial experts.Growth and management of institutionsOver the past two decades, there has been a steadyincrease in tertiary agricultural institutions on the SSAcontinent. There are currently over 200 universities, ofwhich at least 87 teach agriculture and natural resources(Temu et al., 2003). An estimated 23,000 qualifiedacademic professionals including many from the agricu-ltural sector emigrate from Africa each year (BASIC,2006). As a result there is poor staffing in tertiary agricul-tural institutions (Okori and Adipala, 2007).The criteria for student admission into the Universitiesinclude: successful completion of secondary school edu-cation; a particular number of points on finishing second-dary school and the particular student’s preference (Muir-Leresche and Scull-Carvalho, 2006). Although womencarry out much of the farming burden in Africa, they arepoorly represented in agricultural education programmes.They form only 12-15% of the undergraduate enrolment(BASIC, 2006).Students of agricultural faculties are all-too-often notthere by choice. Frequently they are there by default afterfailing to enrol for medicine, veterinary science, businessstudies, and engineering among other popular program-mes (Muir-Leresche and Scull-Carvalho, 2006). This hasa bearing on the graduate being produced.Curriculum contentIt is generally agreed that training of agricultural profess-sionals in SSA is predominantly based on curricula adop-ted from countries that had colonies in Africa (Temu etal., 2003). The curricula were founded on an agriculturalphilosophy and policy that aimed at the production of
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328Sci. Res. Essayscash crops for consumption by the colonising countries. Itis further contented that the content of materials used forteaching and learning has often been adopted from otherparts of the world without adequate contextualisation andadaptation to local environments (Temu, 2004). Most ofthe faculties have obtained the graduate qualifications inuniversities with curricula designed to serve large-scale,capital intensive agricul-tural systems. Without adapta-tion, the dairy, beef, pig, poultry, maize, vegetable andhorticultural production systems and models used havelimited relevance to an isolated, resource-poor rural farm-er in Africa.Curriculum deliveryCurricular delivery has been based on rote learning,memorisation of facts and reproduction of the same atexaminations. The method used has largely been over70% class teaching with library assignments and labora-tory work making the other 10 - 30%. Conventionalassessment of rote-learned information using closed-book examinations is the norm.Very little interaction with farming communities takesplace to enrich the learning programme (Bekunda et al.,2007). In fact, most of the universities are located intowns where there are no farming communities to workwith nearby. As a result, the communities who are sup-posed to be benefiting from the universities are notbenefiting.In most cases the farming community is not involved inthe design and delivery of agricultural curricula. Further-more, private sector involvement in the design anddelivery of curricula has also not taken place or evenwhere there is some consultation, it tends to be sporadic.Few universities have participatory mechanisms institu-tionalised to incorporate stakeholder input.WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE?Over the past two decades, a number of seminars andsymposia have taken place in trying to address the short-comings of tertiary education delivery in SSA. Theseseminars include the SEMCIT (Sustainability, Educationand the Management of Change in the Tropics) seminarseries which ran from 1999 to 2003 involving a network of360 people from 73 countries and 198 institutions aroundthe world (SEMCIT, 2003); The ANAFE (African Networkfor Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural ResourcesEducation) symposium of 2003 which brought together127 persons from 25 countries (Temu et al., 2004); andrecently the RUFORUM (Regional Universities Forum forCapacity Building in Agriculture) symposium of 2007which brought together 12 universities from East andSouthern Africa (RUFORUM, 2007).From these seminar series it was noted that:• The current curricular delivery lacks practical training.There are limited opportunities for students to comeinto contact with the farming community, to work withfarmers and their families and to better understand thedynamics of rural development.• The focus on curricula delivery is based almost exclusi-vely on the acquisition of technical and scientific know-ledge within narrowly defined disciplines. These tradi-tional approaches are inadequate to the task of pre-paring professionals for the challenges of the future.• The graduating students do not have the conceptualand practical skills related to initiating and operating anagricultural enterprise. It was also noted that publicsector employment opportunities were dwindling.Since the universities have currently been found to belacking in delivery of the graduates demanded by theindustry and communities, there is a need for transfor-ming tertiary higher agricultural education into producingeffective drivers of agricultural and rural development.TRANSFORMINGTERTIARYAGRICULTURALEDUCATIONThe need for the production of a new form of graduates isnot disputed. The SEMCIT seminar series, ANAFE andRUFORUM symposia referred to earlier, have classifiedthe type of graduates who should be produced in thetertiary agricultural institutions. The results converge on adesire to have graduates who:• Possess social consciousness and are connected andcommitted to rural communities.• Have strong entrepreneurial skills and spirit, and arecapable of initiating new job opportunities.• Are guided by positive values and high ethicalstandards; are committed to a new vision of agriculturalproduction compatible with the natural environment andthe conservation of biodiversity.• Have a solid grounding in the scientific and technicalprinciples that underlie practice as well as the practicalexperience critical to developing confidence coupledwith a generalist preparation that will enable them todevelop holistic solutions to the problems that they willencounter in their careers.• Are innovators with the confidence to be creative andaddress real problems are life-long learners capable oftaking advantage of relevant information as it isgenerated and to take advantage of new informationtechnologies.• Possess strong leadership, interpersonal and team-building skills and demonstrate strong communicationskills, including effective use of international businesslanguages and information technology.
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What then are the ingredients which ensure that theproper type of graduate for the needs of SSA will beproduced by our agricultural institutions? Sherrard (2003)advances the idea that transforming higher educationprogrammes in agriculture implies significant changes inthe student selection process, the plan of study, theorganisation of the programme and in the nature ofcurricular and co-curricular activities.FacultyThe importance of attracting and retaining good facultywho are committed to both education and sustainablerural development and who are leaders in their field can-not be overemphasised. If new approaches to curriculadelivery are agreed upon, then there is a need for facultyretooling. Faculty will need training in new concepts,methods and skills required for implementation of anydesired change and develop competence in the newapproaches.The current brain drain affecting agricultural experts inSSA needs to be stemmed. It will be important to identifyand solve the problems that lead to brain drain. Thethesis that economic incentives outside SSA are the mainreason is insufficient to explain the exodus. There areprofessional, social and security reasons which requireintensive studies.Student admissionsThere are fundamental reasons why students do notchoose agricultural degree programmes as a priority.These include inter alia, job opportunities, professionaldevelopment prospects and the likely work environment.Without fundamental improvements in this area, theattraction of students will remain low. Policy and insti-tutional interventions are pre-requisites. The next step isto select those students with a vocation in agriculture –including agricultural industries, marketing and trade.This diversifies the location and type of business for thegraduates. The last strategy would be to make the learn-ing programmes much more creative, interesting and ex-posing the learners to exciting opportunities for selfdevelopment.Much of Africa’s small holder agriculture is in the handsof women. However, extension education efforts andenrolments in agricultural programmes have been biasedin favour of men (Muir-Leresche, 2006). There are univer-sities in Africa with programmes to encourage women butmore needs to be done. For example Tanzania, Ugandaand Zimbabwe are among the countries where the stateuniversities take girls with lower entry grades than boys.In Tanzania, the proportion of female enrolment rosefrom 16% in 1992 to 29% in 1996. Recruitment efforts forhigher education that target young women and program-Chakeredza et al.329mes should be responsive to the needs of women(Adipala et al., 2007). The presence of positive femalerole models is critical.Curriculum content and deliveryThere is a need to change the processes for curricula re-views. The process should include faculty, students andexternal stakeholders like farmers, business persons,agro-industry, government and civil society (Rudebjer etal., 2005). The approaches must focus on integration ofpersons, institutions and processes involved in produ-ction, value adding, marketing, research and other areas(Oyewole and Lamptey, 2006). Information and commu-nication technology (ICT) and integration of soft skills ingeneral should be an integral part of the training.The new approach should also emphasise the impor-tance of entrepreneurial skills, including actual experi-ence in planning and operating a productive enterprise asa means of preparing graduates for careers in the privatesector, especially as independent entrepreneurs. Due toglobalisation, students need to be aware of exportopportunities for small farmers and commodity groups.Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary tolerance andexperience should be encouraged. Muir-Leresche andScull-Carvalho (2006) encourage focus in classes, labo-ratories, and other curricula activities to increasingly beplaced on student-centred learning through active studentparticipation; work in groups and discussion rather thanformal lectures in which the professor imparts knowledgeto the student.The student assessment method automatically needsto change if changes in pedagogy and curricula are to beeffected. Assessment strategies need to reflect newobjectives. These may involve a range of different met-hods and may include employer and farmer and commu-nity assessments after attachments. Open-book exams,final year dissertations, field and literature researchprojects, development and entrepreneurial projects, oralpresentations, debates, teamwork and independentknowledge searches, also contribute to a more student-focused learning system.The SEMCIT seminar series, ANAFE and RUFORUMsymposia alluded to earlier, have recommended thateach country needs to ensure that few, very effectivespecialists, are produced. The majority of the graduatesnow need to be more involved in the broader rural deve-lopment and agro-industrial chain. They also need tounderstand how government policies, institutions andinfrastructure impact on the incentives and opportunitiesfor small holders to participate in the market and toemploy sustainable practices. Is there evidence of suc-cess in such approaches? Some interesting case studiesare presented in the next section.
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330Sci. Res. EssaysCASE STUDIESDespite the widespread perception throughout that uni-versities in general and agricultural and natural resourceuniversities in particular need to transform, relatively fewhave demonstrated the ability to do so. Notable examplesinclude the EARTH University in Costa Rica which hasestablished an innovative agricultural training programand other universities which have developed innovativeapproaches in one or the other aspect of course delivery.Earth university modelThe EARTH (Escuela de Agricultura de la RegiónTropical Húmeda) University is an International institutionlocated in the humid tropics of Costa Rica. Sherrard(2003) discusses the EARTH University approach tohigher agricultural education.The University offers a 4 year Student-Centred Integ-rated learning programme. Emphasis is placed on team-work, intercultural exchange, leadership and values. TheUniversity has a large campus farm that provides stu-dents ample opportunities for application and experiment-tation. The University is relatively isolated and is estab-lished in a rural area.The admission process at EARTH seeks to identifycandidates from rural areas who possess an agriculturalvocation, social and environmental awareness andconcern and a commitment to return to their region oforigin.The EARTH study plan emphasises processes andintegration, with relatively less importance given toclasses organised strictly along disciplinary lines. Week-long field trips to rural communities are organised inwhich faculty participate alongside students and duringwhich students have the opportunity to analyse produc-tion systems in their social, environmental and ecologicalcontexts. There are no departments at the University andFaculty are organised by the year they teach as opposedto disciplinary lines.The entrepreneurial focus of the study programmebegins in the first year of study. Students study and applybusiness skills as they develop enterprises. After forminga small business among 5 peers deciding on their enter-prise and developing a business plan, the students pre-sent their plan and if accepted, are provided a loan, atmarket interest rates, to develop their enterprise. Thestudents are responsible for implementing their projectand after marketing, paying for their loan and labour, theythen divide two-thirds of the profit among themselves,with one third reserved for the revolving loan fund. Manystudents have aspired to set up an enterprise on gradua-tion. But because many come from low-income familiesand have no access to collateral to secure a loan, mostdo not qualify for a commercial loan. EARTH has esta-blished a loan fund to provide start-up capital for gra-duates.Since its inception in 1990, EARTH University has hadhigh student retention percentages (88%). As of 2007,EARTH has graduated 1,082 students from 18 LatinAmerican countries, Spain and Uganda. 68% of thesegraduates have entered the private sector, 9% work withNGOs, 10% have entered the public sector, 5% arecarrying out postgraduate or other studies, 3% are seek-ing employment while there is no information on theremaining 5%.Botswana College of Agriculture supervisedenterprise projectMunthali (2004) discusses the Botswana College ofAgriculture (BCA) Supervised Enterprise Project (SEP).The main objective of the SEP is to equip agriculturalgraduates with entrepreneurial skills that make thembetter prepared for employment in the private sector orself-employment.The SEP program at BCA enables students toundertake chosen small-scale agricultural enterprises atBCA over a period of 10 months. The main objectives areto:• Train students in the management of chosen agricul-tural enterprises in order to make them technicallycompetent in agrobusiness.• Equip students with financial and business manage-ment skills and provide them with practical experiencesin issues relating to credit, loan repayment and recordkeeping.• Enable students to accumulate capital (from profitsearned from the SEP enterprises) for use as collaterallater after they have completed the programme.The BCA extends a loan of up to 75,000 pula (≈US$10,000) to a student wishing to embark on a chosenagricultural enterprise. Students wishing to join the SEPprogramme are required to develop and submit projectproposals and budgets that show the chosen enterprisesand the projected costs and returns. After the proposalshave been reviewed, they are funded. The SEP loans arecharged on an economic interest rate and repayments ofthese loans start as soon as the first sales have beenmade. The students are also charged BCA rates for theuse of any services or facilities offered by the college. Oncompletion, the students take home any remaining profitsafter the sale of their commodities.Under this programme, graduates are equipped withentrepreneurial skills that make them better prepared foremployment by the private sector or for self employment.Initial results indicate that the first 12 graduates whoundertook the programme made good profits in theirchosen enterprise. It will be important to continually moni-
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tor the progress this first group of graduates make in theirchosen enterprises.THE IDEAL AGRICULTURAL GRADUATE FOR SSA:NEED FOR PROGRESSIVE ACTIONEvidence marshalled by Johnson and Hazell (2002);Rosegrant et al. (2005) and Diao et al. (2006) suggestthat Africa’s growth hinges on the growth of small holderagriculture. Tertiary agricultural institutions in SSA there-fore need to produce appropriate agriculturalists that willplay their part in contributing to the development of theagricultural sector. To continue to make progress in theproduction of an appropriate graduate, national, regionaland international commitment and political will is needed.The following are some of the key elements which canensure that progress towards the up-gradation of agric-ulture, as identified by NEPAD and others occurs:• Improvement of tertiary agricultural education. Thisincludes elements of institutional management, facultyattraction and retention. Student selection processneeds to target those with a vocation in agriculture.There is a need to revamp and contextualise curriculacontent.• Adoption of delivery methodologies that ensure maint-enance of constant contact with communities should bemaintained with a strong bias in favour of women parti-cipation since they form the majority of farmers in SSA.• The “best practices” which have been implementedworldwide need to be documented so as to scale themup to reach many more institutions. There is a need toset up regional institutions along the lines of theEARTH University with a view to evaluating its potentialto serve as model colleges.ConclusionsAgriculture will continue to be the driver for economicgrowth in Sub-Saharan Africa for the foreseeable future.In order to “get agriculture moving” in the subcontinent, atrained cadre who is technologically competent andrelevant; equipped with the necessary “soft skills” andbusiness skills to generate employment and wealth andable to work particularly with rural communities should beproduced. In this regard tertiary agricultural educationmust be transformed. Issues of faculty retention, institu-tional management, curricula content and educa-tion deli-very need urgent attention. The way forward shouldensure that there is a buy-in of these ideas from politicalleaders who would facilitate the change process and alsoensure that the “best practices” are scaled-up rapidly.REFERENCESAdipala E, Masanganise P, Ombima W, Kongai H (2007). BuildingChakeredza et al.331scientific and technical capacity: some lessons and needed actions.RUFORUM 2. First Biennial Meeting of the Regional UniversitiesForum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, 23-27 April, Mangochi,Malawi. Programme and Extended Abstracts. pp.17-20.ANAFE (2006). ANAFE (African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestryand Natural Resources Education). A brochure. Available at Accessed on 25th September 2007.BASIC (2006). BASIC (Building Africa’ Scientific and InstitutionalCapacity in Agriculture and Natural Resources). An ANAFEPublication, p. 12.Bekunda M, Okori P, Kyamanywa S (2007). Promoting relevance ofUniversity training and research activities: The case of NationalForum, Uganda. RUFORUM 2. First Biennial Meeting of the RegionalUniversities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, 23-27 April,Mangochi, Malawi. Programme and Extended Abstracts. pp.25-28.Diao X, Hazell P, Resnick D, Thurlow J (2006). The role of agriculture inDevelopment: Implications for Sub-Saharan Africa. IFPRI,Development Strategy and Governance Division, Discussion PaperNo. 29. Available at Accessed on 28.09.07.Johnson M, Hazell P (2002). Cutting Hunger in Africa throughSmallholder-led Agricultural growth. An IFPRI technical paper insupport of USAID’s Agricultural Initiative to cut hunger in Africa(AICHA). Available at: on 29.08.07.Maguire JC (2000). Agricultural Education in Africa: Managing Change.A paper prepared for workshop 2000 Sponsored by the SasakawaAfrica Association Accra and Cape Coast Ghana. Available at Accessed on 27.09.07.Muir-Leresche K, Scull-Carvalho S (2006). Improving approaches foreffective teaching and learning: tertiary agricultural education.Nairobi: World Agroforestry Centre, p. 64.Munthali DC (2004). Training for self-employment in agriculture: thesupervised enterprise projects of the Botswana College ofAgriculture. In: Temu AB, Chakeredza S, Mogotsi K, Munthali D,Mulinge R (eds). Rebuilding Africa’s capacity for agriculturaldevelopment: the role of tertiary education. Nairobi: WorldAgroforestry Centre, ICRAF, pp. 138-145.Okori P, Adipala E (2007). Lead paper: Building human and institutionalcapacity for agricultural development: RUFORUM’s framework.RUFORUM 2. First Biennial Meeting of the Regional UniversitiesForum for Capacity Building in Agriculture, 23-27 April, Mangochi,Malawi. Programme and Extended Abstracts.pp. 5 - 9.Oyewole OB, Lamptey A (2006). Higher agricultural education andinternational cooperation in African Universities: the synergic roles ofAAU and WGHE. A paper prepared for the International Seminar onHigher Education. Available at: on 28.09.07.Rosegrant MW, Cline SA, Li W, Sulser TB, Valmante-Santos RA(2005). Looking ahead: Long term prospects for Africa’s AgriculturalDevelopmentandFoodSecurity. Accessed on 01.09.07.Rudebjer PG, Temu AB, Kung’u J (2005). Developing agroforestrycurricula: A practical guide for academic institutions in Africa andAsia. Bogor: World Agroforestry Centre. p. 53.RUFORUM (2007). RUFORUM 2: Programme and Extended Abstracts.First Biennial Meeting of the Regional Universities Forum forCapacity Building in Agriculture, 23-27 Mangochi, Malawi. p. 366.Rukuni M (2002). Africa: Addressing Growing Threats to Food Security.J. Nutr. 132: 3443S-3448S.SEMCIT (2003). SEMCIT (Sustainability, Education and theManagement of Change in the Tropics). An International Seminarseries focused on the role of education in promoting sustainabledevelopmentinthetropics.Availableon Accessed on 28.09.07.Sherrard D (2003). The change agenda: A new approach to HigherEducation in Agriculture. Paper prepared for the EARTH-SalzburgSeminar Series, Sustainability, Education and the Management ofChange in the Tropics. Available on http://www.changetropics.orgAccessed on 28.09.07.
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332Sci. Res. EssaysMunthali D, Mulinge R (eds). Rebuilding Africa’s capacity for agriculturaldevelopment: the role of tertiary education. Nairobi: WorldAgroforestry Centre (ICRAF).Temu AB (2004). Towards better integration of land use disciplines ineducation programmes. In: Temu AB, Chakeredza S, Mogotsi K,Temu AB, Chakeredza S, Mogotsi K, Munthali, D, Mulinge R (2004).Rebuilding Africa’s capacity for agricultural development: the role oftertiary education. Reviewed papers presented at ANAFESymposium on Tertiary Agricultural Education, April 2003. ICRAF,Nairobi, Kenya. p. 498.Temu AB, Mwanje I, Mogotsi K (2003). Improving Agriculture andNatural Resources Education in Africa: A Stitch in Time. Nairobi,Kenya: World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), p. 36.von Braun J, Swaminathan MS, Rosegrant MW (2004). Agriculture,Food Security, Nutrition and the Millennium Development Goals.2003-2004 IFPRI Annual Report Essay. Available at on 26th September, 2007.

Agroforestry training at postgraduate level in sub-Saharan Africa: Solutions to challenges in curriculumdeliveryS. Chakeredza1*, A. B. Temu2 and A. Drame-Yaye31ANAFE, ICRAF World Agroforestry Centre, P. O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.2ICRAF, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), P. O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.3Executive Secretary, ANAFE, ICRAF World Agroforestry Centre, P. O. Box 30677-00100, Nairobi, Kenya.Accepted 29 June, 2009In 2005, the African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resources Education (ANAFE)supported a survey of postgraduate programmes in Agroforestry (AF) at 20 selected universities in sub-Saharan Africa. The objective was to assess the AF content and delivery challenges, and work outstrategic solutions with stakeholders. We surveyed five, six, three and six universities in SouthernAfrica, East and Central Africa, Sahel and Africa Humid Tropics, respectively. Questionnaire data werecomplemented by analysis of available publications about the universities and interviews with relevantfaculty. A total of 160 lecturers, 36 key university administrators, 136 students and 50 potentialemployers were interviewed. The results showed that 80% of the institutions surveyed offer AF relatedMSc programmes with a two-year duration. Most programmes draw on faculty from differentdepartments. The programmes range from stand alone AF courses to AF incorporated into other degreeprogrammes, in all cases the thesis research topic is on AF. The overall teaching quality was good, witha caveat regarding experience of faculty. Student assessments were through coursework, examinations,seminars, and thesis write-up. Employers recognise that students trained in AF have a holistic view tosmallholder farming problems. Challenges being faced include limited equipment and scholarshipsupport and a slow pace in the inclusion of AF into national agricultural policies. The potential forexpanding AF postgraduate education is good but more work is needed to improve the quality ofdelivery of programmes. Further support is necessary in expanding options for experiential learning;faculty skills upgrading; and further learning materials development.Key words: Agroforestry, postgraduate, curriculum delivery, sub-Saharan Africa.INTRODUCTIONFor a long time, the mainstream forestry and agriculturaleducation programmes failed to appreciate that a signifi-cant number of farmers were mixing trees, crops andlivestock in their production systems, thereby actuallypractising Agroforestry. Rudebjer et al. (2005) noted thatcorrection of this omission in educational institutions star-ted in the early 1970s, albeit at a slow pace. The pacequickened as deforestation and land and soil degradationCorresponding author. E-mail: Tel.:+254(0)20 7224128. Fax: +254 (0) 20 722 4001.marked a decline in natural capital in many countries andagroforestry came to be seen as a means of combiningproduction with resource conservation. Governments,donors, researchers and NGOs joined forces to under-stand, develop and promote agroforestry systems. It wasnoted that agroforestry could contribute directly to foodsecurity, health and nutrition through improvement of landproductivity and services. As a result, the number ofeducational institutions that provided agroforestry educa-tion and training increased very rapidly during the 1980sand especially in the 1990s.The World Agroforestry Centre (formally known as theInternational Centre for Research in Agroforestry-ICRAF)
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assisted in the creation of the African Network for Agro-forestry Education (ANAFE) in 1993. The original goal ofANAFE was to promote the institutionalisation of Agrofo-restry (AF) in education programmes in universities andtechnical colleges in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and toproduce graduates capable of developing, disseminatingand implementing AF practices suitable for smallholderfarmers and addressing natural resources managementin a holistic manner (ANAFE, 2006). The major thrustwas through promoting and supporting multidisciplinaryapproaches in the teaching of agriculture and naturalresource management, with a special focus on agro-forestry at technical and undergraduate levels.For the development of graduate education in AF,ANAFE supported the development of curricula, trainingof lecturers in andragogy and AF, and providing thesisresearch fellowships to graduate students (ANAFE, 1994;2004; Chivinge, 2006).The ANAFE mandate was revisedin 2003, to encompass Agriculture and Natural Resour-ces Education. The name was changed to AfricanNetwork for Agriculture, Agroforestry and Natural Resou-rces Education but retained the same acronym, ANAFE.As of 2009, the network has 131 member institutions in35 African countries. The process used by ANAFE is toinstitutionalise the adoption of integrated education pro-grammes in Agriculture, Forestry, Environment andNatural Resources at African colleges and universities.These activities are implemented within existing institu-tional frameworks and in a collaborative mode. Somecolleges and universities have developed separate AFprogrammes, while others have incorporated AF intoexisting postgraduate programmes. A few have chosen toonly allow thesis research in AF without any courseworkin the subject-matter area. In all these arrangements, AFis growing as a science and as an area of specialisation.This study is based on a survey conducted by ANAFE inselected institutions which the network has supported toassess the content of AF in postgraduate programmesoffered and evaluate its content and delivery.The specific objectives were to:i) Establish the current state of AF education in post-graduate programmes at each institution and assess theeffectiveness of its delivery,ii) Assess the teaching capacity and quality managementmeasures,iii) Document the current popularity and demand for AFprogrammes and project future needs.iv) Make recommendations on future actions by con-cerned Universities, ANAFE and other stakeholders.METHODOLOGYUniversities surveyedTwenty universities in Southern Africa (SA), East and Central AfricaChakeredza et al.901(EA), Africa Humid Tropics (AHT) and Sahel having AF and/or Na-tural Resource Management (NRM) content were selected for thestudy and surveyed during July and August, 2005. The institutionssurveyed were:i) In Southern Africa: Bunda College of Agriculture and ChancellorCollege, both in the University of Malawi; the University of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa; the University of Zambia and University ofZimbabwe.ii) In East and Central Africa: Egerton University, Moi University,Kenyatta University, and Nairobi University all in Kenya; MakerereUniversity in Uganda; and Sokoine University of Agriculture inTanzania.iii) In the Sahel: Institut du Developpement Rural of Bobo-DioulassoUniversity in Burkina Faso; Universite Cheikh Anta Diop in Senegaland University Abdou Moumouni of Niamey, Niger.iv) In Africa Humid Tropics: University of Abormey-Calavi in Benin;University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon; Federal University of Tech-nology, Akure and University of Abeokuta in Nigeria; Kwame Nkru-mah University of Science and Technology and University of GhanaLegon in Ghana.Data collectionQuestionnaire data were collected on general information about theinstitutions, AF curricula, teaching capacity and quality manage-ment measures, current popularity and demand for AF and project-ted future needs.The relevant information was obtained through interviews of 160lecturers responsible for teaching and supervising postgraduate AFstudent projects and 136 students. Thirty-six key administrators ofthe universities involved in strategic planning and policy develop-ment for the institutions were also interviewed. These includeddeans and Heads of Departments. Data were also collected fromprospectuses and brochures. Other stakeholders interviewedincluded 48 potential employers of AF postgraduates includingMinistries, Private Sector companies and NGOs. Comparisons weremade on responses obtained across institutions. General trendswere derived based on the responses obtained and distilling oflessons learnt.RESULTSThe results are presented in the order: 1.) Current stateof AF postgraduate training, 2.) Quality of faculty, ade-quacy of teaching facilities and assessment and 3.)Objectives of choosing AF, its popularity, current con-straints and scope for expansion.Current state of agroforestry postgraduate trainingTable 1 presents the current state of AF postgraduatetraining in the institutions surveyed.Postgraduate education in AF is taught either as aMaster of Science/Master of Philosophy degree progra-mme or at a higher level as PhD. In 50% of the universi-ties surveyed, it is taught as a subject or topic in anotherdegree programme, that is, MSc in Natural ResourcesManagement (NRM). In such cases, other post-graduatestudents in other departments within the institution, for
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Sci. Res. Essays902Table 1. Structure and duration of MSc programmes.ItemCategoryNumber of institutionsin categoryPercentage ofinstitutions in categoryMSc Agroforestry630MPhil210MSc NameMSc in other NRM programmes12602 yrs1680Duration of ProgrammeLess than 2 years420Course work plus Research1680Research only210Delivery methodBoth options (Research onlyand course work + research)210> 12 months21012 months1470Research Period< 12 months420None2
10< Five6306-10630Number of MScAgroforestry courses> 10630< 53306-1011011-20110Number of thesescompleted between2001 and 2005>20550NRM, Natural Resource Management*For research only programmesTen institutions did not provide the relevant datainstance Animal Production, Agricultural Education andAgricultural Extension departments also take up AF as acourse taught from the department of NRM. Thirty percent of the institutions surveyed have an MSc programmesolely in AF.Eighty per cent of the surveyed institutions integratecourse work and research while ten per cent of the insti-tutions offer AF training specifically by research only. Inten per cent of the institutions surveyed, in addition tooffering the training by course work and research, alsooffer the AF Research as a separate component.The duration of the MSc programme in 80% of theinstitutions surveyed is two years. In the other 20% of theinstitutions, the duration ranges between 1 - 1.5 years.The research period is dependent on the duration of theprogramme. The research period for those institutionsoffering a taught component of 1 year is 12 months, whilethose offering research only is 24 months. Those institu-tions offering a one year course and research offer aresearch period ranging from 4 - 10 months. Thesisresearch areas have mainly been in the field of soilscience, followed by tree science, social science, AFprotection and lastly farming systems analysis.For the taught component, the postgraduate programmeat Yaounde 1, Abormey-Calavi, Kwame Nkrumah Univer-sity of Science and Technology, University of Zambia,Kenyatta University, Makerere University and BundaCollege of Agriculture are very comprehensive. Thesecomprehensive programmes offer a balanced coverageof both the theoretical and applied courses so that thestudents are well-grounded in the scope of agroforestryscience and application. Some of the programmes inmany other institutions need further development.The majority of students are self-sponsored while veryfew students get sponsorship from government ministriesof Environment, Natural Resources or Agriculture. Uni-versities have obtained support from ANAFE in terms ofresearch fellowships, library books, electronic equip-ment, short training courses for lecturers, data analysis,curriculum development, financial support towards tea-ching manual preparation and field demonstration sitesdevelopment (Temu et al., 2001). All these efforts weremainly funded through a grant from the Swedish Interna-tional Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). Othersupporting agencies that worked with ANAFE include theRockefeller Foundation, Legume Research Network, Nor-wegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD)and African Academy of Sciences (AAS).
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Chakeredza et al.903Table 2. Teaching capacity and quality measures.ItemCategoryNumber of institutionsin categoryPercentage ofinstitutions in category< 5 PhD holders945Facultyqualifications* > 5 PhD holders1155Adequate libraries, laboratories, computer facilities anddemonstration plots available1470Availability offacilitiesInadequate laboratories and computer facilities630Satisfactory, Standard equipment in functional state1260Condition oflaboratoriesUnsatisfactory; Equipment needs upgrading840Good curriculum also balanced for theory and practicum1056Teaching andlearningprocessCurriculum needs upgrading to incorporate currentelements of agroforestry844Rigorous; Involving internal and external examiners,written exams and thesis defence1260AssessmentmethodInternal examination, written exams and thesis defence840In five (5) of the institutions, MSc holders were involved in teaching agroforestry and also supervising student projectsTwo of the institutions offer degree programmes by research only*Five of these institutions involve also use of guest lecturersQuality of faculty, adequacy of teaching facilities andassessmentTable 2 gives information on quality of faculty, adequacyof teaching facilities and assessment for the surveyedinstitutions.The quality of faculty involved in teaching MSc coursesand supervising post-graduate research projects variesbetween institutions. Forty per cent of the institutions hadat least 7 PhD holders each participating in the teachingof AF while the least had two PhD holders each. Twenty-five per cent of the surveyed institutions currently haveMSc holders participating in the teaching of postgraduateAF course. On average, there are 6 PhD holders perinstitution. However, in all the institutions surveyed, fewmembers of staff have PhD qualifications in AF. Femalerepresentation within faculty in each institution was lessthan 10%.Almost all the institutions had soil and plant analyticallaboratories. Access to demonstration plots and farmers’fields was good all round. However, Internet facilities andgermplasm/seed laboratories were not adequate.The teaching process in general incorporates in fewinstances (25% of the institutions surveyed), invitation ofguest lecturers. Otherwise in 75% of the institutions sur-veyed, the training is carried out through standard chalkand board teaching, seminar presentations, students’practical work, assignments and field visits.In the Anglophone countries, the examination processinvolves written and oral examinations and thesisdefence. External examiners are involved in the assess-ment. Most external research supervisors and examinersin AF came from international organizations, especiallyICRAF. The system of external examiners has not beenwidely adopted in the Francophone countries.In almost all institutions surveyed, the governmentfunding to University research is minimal. The lecturersindicate that there is limited time to conduct research.Objectives of choosing agroforestry, its popularity,current constraints and scope for expansionAgroforestry is seen by faculty and employers as animportant subject to finding solutions to food security inAfrica. Students readily see its relevance in the context ofthe smallholder farming conditions. This included theability of AF to maintain and improve environmental con-servation; entrepreneurship possibilities; and improvingfarm productivity.About 80% of the students coming into postgraduate AFprogramme is from the young unemployed graduates,workers from ministries of agriculture, Tea companies,NGOs, Private companies, ministries of environment andnatural resources, forestry research institutes and fromin-service research and extension services.The demand for AF is currently overwhelming, a per-spective shared by faculty and employers. The potentialfor expansion of AF as envisaged by faculty, employersand students was seen to be high.DISCUSSIONPost-graduate training in agroforestry in SSA has recentlybeen gathering momentum. In the current study, it wasfound that besides MSc training; only 10% of the surveyed
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Sci. Res. Essays904institutions were offering MPhil and PhD studies. Thepotential for developing AF at these levels is enormous.Both lecturers and employers envisage that AF plays animportant role in addressing agricultural problems en-countered in the smallholder sector of SSA. They alsocontended that the demand for cadres trained in AFwould continue to rise to meet the high demand fromresearch, education and extension systems and from theNGOs.In general AF was being offered through courseworkand research. Rudebjer et al. (2005) recommended thatcurriculum reviews should endeavour to focus on a ba-lance between theory and practical and a feedback fromemployers on graduate performance should be animportant input in the review process. Currently, “expe-riential learning” with communities by students is missingfrom the curricula. “Experiential learning” has been seenas the best way to prepare young graduates to enter theworkforce (Sherrard, 2003; Muir-Leresche and Scull-Carvalho, 2006; Gregorian, 2007). Institutions should en-deavour to seek funds to embark on this mode of training.In 80% of the institutions surveyed, the MSc beingoffered covers two years of study (1 year each of coursework and research). This appears to be the ideal lengthof an MSc AF programme to maintain.Across the four regions the numbers of students optingfor AF specialised courses was still limited. Only 30% ofthe Universities surveyed have developed fulltime MSccourses in AF. This could be a reflection of Universitysystems not adequately recognising the role AF plays inintegrating land use disciplines. There is a need toensure that AF is mainstreamed into land use sectorsand development processes in all countries. Fundingagencies should also be sensitised to support and fundinnovative research topics in AF. There is a need to im-prove the national profile of AF through effecting relevantpolicy changes in government departments and demon-strate immediate AF benefits to smallholder farmers.It might be important that those universities with full-fledged MSc programmes in AF share their experienceswith their peers in the sub-region. Sharing opportunitiesinclude the use of guest lecturers, faculty exchangeprogramme, sharing equipment and facilities, studentexchange programmes and sharing of learning resources(Temu, 2004). These aspects need coordination for themto be meaningful. In Francophone institutions, coordina-tion of efforts to harmonize and share resources hasstarted with the creation of the REESAO network(Reseau d’Excellence de l’Enseignement Superieur enAfrique de l’Ouest).The major focus of student thesis has been on bio-physical aspects of AF technologies. Students have ge-nerally not ventured into innovative and problem solvingaspects of AF. Research work should also delve intonewer areas of AF. It is critical that graduating studentshave a good grasp of how to systematically solved pro-blems, including the application of social science.A number of foundations, bilateral aid agencies andInternational research institutions have been supportingAF postgraduate education. The enthusiasm might beindicative of the potential role envisaged by these aidagencies regarding what AF could deliver in improvingagricultural production. The major areas, which haveattracted funding, have been in scholarships, researchfunds and equipment. There is a need to continue work-ing with interested development partners to expand AFprogrammes given the current high levels of interest. Keyneeds are in faculty training and development of contex-tualized learning materials.Of those institutions offering postgraduate AF training,the majority (> 80%) of the lecturers have PhDs. Thismight imply that the expertise is available to handlevarious aspects of AF. From the survey, however, it wasnot specific, how many of these lecturers actually havePhDs in different areas of Agriculture and Forestry. Thedistribution of expertise is also not even across institu-tions. Those institutions offering specialised MSc coursesin AF have the majority of the expertise. To fill the gap inexpertise, some Universities invite guest lecturers. This isa very good idea that needs to be expanded in alluniversities in the region to enhance better utilization ofexisting capacity. There is a general need to offer facultydevelopment fellowships for students to pursue PhDstudies in AF and mechanisms should be put in place onhow to retain the trained personnel in the Universities.There is also a need to have faculty exchange program-mmes in areas that are deficient.In some Universities, a number of lecturers from depart-ments not hosting AF do not participate in its teaching.Coordinators of AF programmes need to reach out todifferent departments in the universities and encouragethem to participate in the teaching of AF. In instanceswhere this cannot be institutionalised, the teaching of AFcan easily be incorporated in the teaching of other ap-plied and social sciences. Curricula need to be reviewedto ensure that the incorporated substance makesreasonable sense to enable the understanding of theconcepts and practice of AF.In some universities, lecturers with MSc qualificationsand with minimal relevant experience are being allowedto teach postgraduate courses in AF and even supervisestudents undertaking research at MSc level. This shouldonly be allowed in cases where these lecturers haverelevant experience in the field. Relevant PhD holdersworking in National and International Research Instituteswithin the countries where universities are offering the AFprogramme should be encouraged to co-supervise thestudents. Some universities have made progress in termsof getting such institutions to participate in their teachingactivities.In terms of student assessment, there seems to beuniformity in thesis examination involving internal and ex-
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ternal examiners and an oral exam. This should help tomaintain standards across universities since most of theuniversities try to ensure that the external examiner ispreferably from a different country. It would thereforemake more sense if the curriculum in the region is stan-dardised. These aspects should be encouraged so thatqualifications will be recognised regionally andinternationally.Most of the institutions have good soil analysis labora-tories. This could be the reason why substantial amountof the research has focused on soil fertility studies.Although available in some universities, seed/ germplasmlaboratories are in need of revamping to boost theiroperational efficacy. A few of the institutions are quite ad-vanced and possess mist tunnels, green-houses, tissueculture labs, plant protection laboratories and generalanalytical laboratories. This is an aspect where if a data-base is compiled of facilities available at institutions in theregion, would allow for sharing of scarce resources in thesubcontinent. Students coming from countries whereequipment is limiting can, in the pursuit of a particulartopic, seek assistance from institutions who will be havingspecialised equipment they might want to use in theirstudies. Universities should therefore encourage not onlyfaculty exchange, but also students ‘exchange’ andfacility sharing.Library facilities are available in all institutions, but stu-dents should also be enabled to access current literaturethrough e-journals. Other relevant AF literature is ge-nerally scarce in most of the institutions surveyed. Thereis a need to invest in information and communicationtechnology (ICT) to boost availability of relevant literatureaccessible by students.Demonstration fields are available and farming commu-nities are within reach of most of these institutions.Conditions are therefore favourable for conductingrelevant AF research by students and also incorporating“experiential learning with farmers”.The demand for AF programmes was from former un-dergraduate students, graduates working in Ministries ofAgriculture (MoA), Ministries of Environment and NaturalResources (MENR), Fisheries, NGOs and from theregion. The demand was felt to be great and is likely tobe so into the future. The employers felt that they neededa graduate who has a holistic view of issues. Training inAF at MSc level equips students with this appreciation.However, the demand was also significant in researchand extension systems, where the employers were look-ing for persons who had Masters Level training to tackleresearch in AF.The faculty generally agreed that the important issue inAfrica currently is to find solutions to food security andenvironmental degradation. In many institutions, studentsgenerally perceived employment opportunities as low.The students felt that there is a need for the institutions tomarket the concept of AF more aggressively to policy-Chakeredza et al.905makers and employment agencies. They also felt the fu-ture was on enterprises and self-employment and AF canoffer them these opportunities.ConclusionThe need for post-graduate agroforestry training in sub-Saharan Africa is appreciated by students; lecturers;university administrators and potential employers of thegraduates. There is a need to standardise curricula re-gionally and explore other innovative ways of curriculadelivery including staff and student exchange andcontinue with policy advocacy for the need to integrateagroforestry training in tertiary agricultural institutions inSub-Saharan Africa.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTSWe are grateful to the Swedish International Develop-ment Cooperation Agency (Sida) for financial support inthe development of Agroforestry curricula, training oflecturers in Agroforestry and provision of thesis researchfellowships to graduate students in institutions surveyedfor this study.REFERENCEANAFE (2006). ANAFE (African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestryand Natural Resources Education). A brochure. Available at Accessed on 25th September 2007.ANAFE (African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and NaturalResources Education) (2004). Annual report.ANAFE (African Network for Agriculture, Agroforestry and NaturalResources Education) (1994). Annual report.Chivinge OA (2006). Capacity Building in agroforestry in Africa andSouth East Asia. In: Garrity D, Okono A, Grayson M, Parrott S Eds).World Agroforestry into the future. Nairobi: World AgroforestryCentre pp. 135-140.Gregorian V (2007). Carnergie Corporation of New York: Meeting thechallengesofthe21stCentury.Availableat: Accessedon 08.11.07 p. 24.Muir-Leresche K, Scull-Carvalho S (2006). Improving approaches foreffective teaching and learning: tertiary agricultural education. Nairobi:World Agroforestry Centre p. 64.Rudebjer PG, Temu AB, Kung’u J (2005). Developing AgroforestryCurricula: A practical guide for academic institutions in Africa andAsia. Bogor: World Agroforestry Centre. p.53.Sherrard D (2003). The Change Agenda: A new approach to HigherEducation in Agriculture. Paper prepared for the EARTH-SalzburgSeminar Series, Sustainability, Education and the Management ofChange in the Tropics. Available on AB (2004). Towards better integration of land use disciplines ineducation programmes. In: Temu AB, Chakeredza S, Mogotsi K,Munthali D, Mulinge R (eds). Rebuilding Africa’s capacity for agricul-tural development: the role of tertiary education. Nairobi: World Agro-forestry Centre (ICRAF) pp. 2-11.Temu AB, Rudebjer PG, Zoungrana I (2001). Networking Educationalinstitutions for change: the Experience of ANAFE. ICRAF Training andEducation Report No. 46

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