SASACID programme has transformed agricultural education in Africa

In the last four years, ANAFE – together with its partners – has taken concrete actions to transform the delivery of agricultural education in Africa.

A cross-section of participants during the SASACID workshop held in Nairobi, December 2015.

A cross-section of participants during the SASACID workshop held in Nairobi, December 2015.

Through the SASACID programme, ANAFE deliberately set out to create a new paradigm in Africa’s agricultural education anchored on new curricula models, contextualized content and improved delivery of the same. And now the efforts are slowly changing the way agricultural education is perceived, taught and practiced in the continent.

Through the programme, various universities and colleges have forged strong links with the private sector in areas of research, internships and curriculum review. These links are expected to bridge the gap between theoretical concepts and application of the same.

Transforming agriculture into a viable business venture was a key plank of the programme. On this count, ANAFE developed a unique agribusiness curriculum at all levels of tertiary agricultural education: certificate, diploma, bachelors, masters and PhD. The curricula are currently being implemented by selected ANAFE member institutions.

In addition, the SASACID programme supported the development of an agricultural risk management curriculum at master’s level, which many universities and colleges have expressed interest in implementing.

To support the curricula, two sets of learning materials in agribusiness and agricultural risk management have been published. The books, which exemplify concepts on real-life experiences from the African environment, contain unique contextualized case studies put together by a wide team of African authors composed of agricultural scholars, practitioners and researchers.

Perhaps the most important achievement of the SASACID programme is the enhanced networking of agricultural institutions in the continent – both Francophone and Anglophone – which facilitate cross-pollination of ideas among lecturers and institutional leaders. This is exemplified by the joint production of two books on agribusiness and risk management, a precursor to similar joint initiatives on agricultural education in future.

The awareness generated through this programme is having a ripple effect in tertiary agricultural education institutions. ANAFE expects that the momentum generated by the SASACID programme will translate into tangible benefits in the agricultural sector in form of food security and increased agricultural exports, which are key pillars of sustainable economic development.

Finally, the importance of research and building capacity on the same cannot be gainsaid. In this respect, enhancing the capacity of students and lecturers is paramount. The programme supported more than 140 students taking agricultural related courses to conduct research. In addition, lecturers have been trained on aspects of pedagogy, outreach and development of learning materials. Institutional managers have also been trained on good governance.