Agro-college chiefs laud SBL’s scholarship scheme for disadvantaged

18Nov 2020
By Guardian Reporter
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Agro-college chiefs laud SBL’s scholarship scheme for disadvantaged

SERENGETI Breweries Limited’s scholarship scheme which targets students coming from poor families with a farming background has assisted hundreds to access agrarian higher education while also contributing towards the nation’s boost in agro-experts.

Serengeti Breweries Limited’s managing director, Mark Ocitti (L-seated) and Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture’s principal, Sinani Simba (R-seated) in a group photo with some beneficiaries of ‘Kilimo Viwanda’ Scholarships during this year’s launch in Dar es Salaam recently. Courtesy of SBL.

Agro-college heads from Coast Region, Iringa and Kilimanjaro Regions paid tribute to SBL’s management for the funding which has also helped boost their colleges financially.

Bagamoyo based Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture’s Principal, Sinani Simba said last week that SBL’s generosity should be applauded because it has not only changed individuals lives but also adding value to the agriculture sector.

“The support is not only a much-sought-after short-in-the-arm for qualified students who could not afford college fees but also illustrates SBL’s commitment to the development of the agriculture sector in the country,” Simba said.

He noted that the training of agricultural experts is one of the priorities spelt out in the counyry’s Agriculture Sector Development Program Phase II, being a prerequisite to increasing productivity and income generation for farmers.

“We are very grateful to SBL because ‘Kilimo-Viwanda’ Scholarship program is among the initiatives that are supporting our colleges to foster the growth of the agricultural sector in the country,” he added while noting that the brewer’s initiative is changing lives in rural Tanzania.

Simba’s observations were backed by his Kilimanjaro based Kilacha Agricultural and Livestock Training Center’s peer, Benito Mwenda who equally hailed the brewer for the generous investment adding value to the nation’s economic backbone.

“SBL’s gesture speaks volumes in its keenness to enhance training of agro-experts that the country needs badly to transform the agriculture sector,” Mwenda said while noting that having an adequate pool of trained experts, is an important aspects towards attaining an agrarian revolution that will trigger the industrial growth.

Iringa based Saint Maria Goretti College of Agriculture’s Principal, Isaya Kidava joined his two peers in backing the SBL investment saying the sponsorship to needy students from families with a farming background boosts efforts to increase the number of extension officers in the country. 

“Extension officers are an important group of people in our agriculture sector hence SBL’s investment is very commendable. Adoption of good agricultural practices and intensive provision of extension services to farmers have consistently demonstrated high rates of return in various countries,” Kidava noted.

Suffice it to say, with more and more occupations requiring advanced education, a college degree or diploma is critical to one’s success in today’s workforce, he added while stressing that government efforts to revolutionise agriculture needs backing from companies such as SBL.

Commenting on the scholarship, SBL’s Managing Director, Mark Ocitti said ‘Kilimo-Viwanda’ Scholarship Program’s overall aim is to beef up the existing pool of experts in the agricultural sector to support farmers increase their productivity.

Ocitti said the scheme targets qualified, needy students who originate from the areas where the brewer supports its agri-business program so once the students acquire the relevant skills, they will be able to provide the much-needed extension services thus imparting them to the farmers to increase yields.

In all, SBL’s agribusiness program supports over 400 farmers of cereals such as maize, sorghum, wheat and barley with the relevant farming inputs to enable them boost production of raw materials that the brewer uses for its beer production.

“We have so far provided scholarship to 70 students from four agro-colleges in the country and they include Igabiro Training Institute of Agriculture in Kagera Region with the scholarships catering for their tuition fees for the entire academic tenure in colleges,” the SBL chief noted.