Having successfully concluded the SASACID programme, focus now shifts to up-scaling and sharing the good practices, addressing gaps and exploiting emerging opportunities in Africa’s agricultural education
The next phase of the programme will build on the firm foundation to accelerate agricultural education reforms in the continent. Of particular importance is the need to strengthen the business components of agricultural education by implementing the agribusiness and risk management curriculum, and also developing learning materials on these subjects.
So far, about 10 universities are already implementing the agribusiness curriculum; there is need to have more agricultural universities and colleges adopt or customize the curriculum to their individual needs.
Supporting and monitoring implementation of the curricula is paramount.
In this respect, two text books on agribusiness and risk management have already been published; but there is need to jointly produce more of such materials and build a solid knowledge base on contextualized learning materials on these subjects.
Strengthening linkages between tertiary agricultural education institutions is another key strand in the tapestry of agricultural education that must be taken seriously. Though many universities and colleges have signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) with the private sector under the SASACID programme, there is need to design and promote joint activities among universities and the private sector to sustain these links for mutual benefit.
Developing the capacities of students to conduct research and improving pedagogical skills of lecturers to deliver on agricultural subjects, taking into account emerging global realities, will form a significant part of the agenda in the next phase.
At a higher level, it will be important to support agribusiness startups and facilitate easy access to finance by identifying partners in development (for support to financing). This will help accelerate the number of sustainable agribusiness in the continent. In this regard, it will be important to set up an innovation platform, where students and emerging agripreneurs can share ideas and experiences between different countries.
Given the ground covered by the programme coupled with the enthusiasm and commitment shown by stakeholders, it is expected that agricultural education will contribute much more significantly in Africa’s economic development through creation of jobs, wealth and also ensure food security, which is a serious concern for the continent.