SBL’s Managing Director, Mark Ocitti said the scholarships have given the students who come from under-privileged families in farming communities have given a bright future to both the students and the farmers across the country.
Ocitti made the remarks at a ceremony to award 17 students from Saint Maria Goretti Agriculture Training Institute in Iringa with new scholarships held in Dar es Salaam this week. He said the program supports bright students from low-income families to study agri-related diploma courses in local colleges.
The other 43 students under the program are studying at Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture (Bagamoyo), Kilacha Agriculture and Livestock Training Institute (Moshi) and Igabiro Training Insitute of Agriculture (Bukoba).
“The scholarship covers school fees and other academic-related expenses for the student's entire period of study,” Ocitti said adding that the ‘Kilimo-Viwanda’ program is focused to compliment the government's effort to strengthen the existing pool of agricultural experts in the country as an important step towards agrarian revolution and eventually industrial revolution.
“Through this program, students get an opportunity to enhance their experience through field studies and visits to SBL breweries located in Dar, Moshi and Mwanza to appreciate the interdependence between farming and manufacturing,” he said.
As a brewer, SBL is heavily dependent on local cereals including maize, sorghum and barley. Last year the company sourced 17,000 tonnes of local cereals from a network of 400 farmers found across the country, an equivalent to 70 per cent of its annual raw materials requirement. The company is set increase sourcing raw materials locally for up to 85 percent by 2025.
Principal of Saint Maria Goretti AgricultureTraining Insitute, Isaya Kigava applauded SBL for supporting the students in their quest for a better future. “SBL has been remarkable to ensure our youth acquire critical knowledge to jump-start into successful agri-business in the nearest future,” he said.