African universities and colleges agree to reform agricultural education to spur development

Managers of universities and colleges across Africa have pledged to accelerate reforms in agricultural education. This follows successful completion of a 4 year programme on Strengthening Africa’s Strategic Agricultural Capacity for Impact on Development (SASACID). The programme was implemented by ANAFE through 16 pilot institutions across Africa and supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

ANAFE Board member interacting with participants during the SASACID workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya.

ANAFE Board member interacting with participants during the SASACID workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya.

The pledge was made during a successful two-day workshop held in Nairobi, Kenya, December 2015. During the workshop, deputy vice chancellors, college principals, deans of agricultural faculties, lecturers, representatives of regional and sub-regional organizations, the private sector and policy makers reiterated the need to solidify the gains made in agricultural education under the SASACID programme.

While addressing the participants, the First Secretary and Deputy Head of Section at the Swedish Embassy, Nairobi, Dr. Patrik Stålgren, observed that although the programme has recorded significant gains, much more needs to be done, especially in ensuring food security in the continent.

“Despite having many farmers, Africa is still a huge importer of food. How is that? What is being done wrong?” he asked participants attending the workshop held in Nairobi.

In his view, development programmes should and must translate into tangible socio-economic gains for the target beneficiaries; he called on the participants to focus more on changing the lives of ordinary people.

ANAFE Executive Secretary, Prof. Aissetou Yaye, said the network will continue to support efforts to transform agricultural education in the continent.

Institutional leaders and lecturers were unanimous that the SASACID programme had recorded tremendous achievements with regard to designing and improving curricula in agriculture and agribusiness; developing learning materials; training college instructors, university lecturers and institutional leaders; supporting research and internships; linking higher education institutions with farmers, producers and the private sector; and contributing to institutional transformation.

Attention now shifts to consolidating gains made in agricultural education in the continent and creating a sustainable momentum that will see universities and colleges contribute more effectively in Africa’s economic transformation through improved agricultural production.