Dubbed ‘Curriculum Implementation Support for Training Institutes (CISTI)’, the three-year project is expected to benefit students and tutors from 29 agricultural Training institutes in the country.
According to Janet Maro, Executive Director of SAT, the project is aimed to ensure that every year; more than 3,000 Tanzanian students acquire the necessary skills so as to spur sustainable farming in the country.
She said the project is carried out during 3 years from 2020 to 2022 and it is funded by the LED Liechtenstein Development Service and coordinated by the government.
She also said that the project also involves training tutors and garden-attendants on organic gardens’ management using natural botanical extracts so as to enable them impart the knowledge to their students easily.
“SAT is working closely with the ministry of agriculture especially the Division of Training, Extension Services and Research (DTER). DTER supervises, oversees, advises, and controls the quality of curriculum implementation in the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institutes (MATIs),” she said.
According to her, the long-term impact goal of the CISTI project is to have competent technical personnel who work effectively to meet the demand of Tanzania’s agriculture sector, increase climate resilience and strengthen livelihoods of small holder farmers, thus alleviating poverty and food insecurity for sustainable development.
“At outcome level, the project purpose is to support public and private training institutions to produce graduates who are in line with the need of the country through successfully integrating and implementing organic agriculture, gender, environmental management, cooperatives and communication skills through the new training curriculum for agriculture on certificate and diploma levels,” Maro said.
She said that the CISTI project began as a pilot project from January 1, to December 3, 2019. The pilot phase involved seven Agricultural Training institutes in three agro-ecological zones.
The institutes covered by the pilot project are: HORTI-Tengeru and KATC-Moshi (Northern Highlands zone), St. John’s University and Tanzania Research and Career Development Institute (Tracdi) in Dodoma (Central zone), MATI-Ilonga, the National Sugar Institute (NSI) and Kilombero Agricultural Training and Research Institute (KATRI) in Eastern/Coastal zone," she said.
Maro said that the project will involve capacity building of tutors through a series of workshops and training in the new subject areas integrated into the new training curriculum.
“This includes establishing organic demonstration gardens in agricultural training institutes for students to conduct their practical training which accounts for 60 percent of the learning time.”
“But also improving the teaching and learning facilities in institutes with special focus on restocking the libraries and modernizing the ICT laboratories and the improvement of the capacity of the Division of Training, Extension Services and Research (DTER), so that it performs its mandated supervisory, advisory, monitoring and controlling functions effectively,” Maro added.
Dr Natalia Fivawo from the St. John’s University Tanzania (SJUT) said that in order for organic farming to be most successful medicinal plants also need to be sown and well managed.
“At SJUT the following medicinal tree crops have been grown: Castor, Wild sunflower (Crisanthemum), Moringa and Utupa among others,” she added.
He said; “at SJUT, we have been very successful in controlling leaf-minor in green vegetables using a mixture of neem leaf, garlic, hot pepper aloevera and some edible oils being added during application…very natural.”
For her part, Justine Kalleku from the Kilimanjaro Agricultural Training Centre (KATC) said that through CISTI, tutors and students are benefiting with new skills and knowledge to support them to conduct sustainable organic farming.
“In the past, the vegetables production yield was very poor and sometimes total loss caused by pests and diseases; high usage of synthetic pesticides to control pests and diseases increasing the cost of production and long term effects to workers and consumers,” he said.