US envoy salute SUA graduates agribusiness internship program

19Nov 2021
Gerald Kitabu
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
US envoy salute SUA graduates agribusiness internship program

AN agribusiness internship program which allows young farmers to visit the US as part of capacity building has been hailed as a success story which will revolutionise the country’s agriculture sector.

US ambassador, Donald Wright (c) while on a field visit to Sugeco offices in Morogoro mid this week. Accompanying him are Sugeco officials. Photo: Correspondent Gerald Kitabu.

US Ambassador Donald Wright said in Morogoro this week while on a field visit to Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (Sugeco) farms that the over 200 young Tanzanian farmers who visited the US for agribusiness internships, will help change the country’s agriculture sector.

He said the beneficiaries of the project who spent between 6 and 18 months in the US interacted with American companies which taught them a lot. Ambassador Wright witnessed some of the beneficiaries give testimony on new skills and tools that acquired and how they are using them to run their own agribusinesses.

“I am pleased to see that the youth have been empowered in different fields, and now they are back home starting their own businesses and giving back to their communities,” he said. He said statistics on population growth is very promising because it gives them opportunities for growth of their agribusiness ventures.

“We will continue working with Sugeco in other aspects such as tourism industry. I understand the hospitality industry is rapidly growing, this is an area were young people need training as well,” Ambassador Wright noted.

Earlier on when explaining about the program, Sugeco Executive Director, Revocutus Kimario commended the US for supporting skills development in Tanzania through the internship program. “We indeed appreciate the collaboration between US and Tanzania and as the US is celebrating its 60 years of partnership with Tanzania we feel that Sugeco has a big stake as one of the beneficiaries in this relationship,” Kimario said.

He said since 2018 when Sugeco started building youth agribusiness skills in collaboration with US companies, over 226 graduates from different universities in the country have benefited saying the majority of them came from Sokoine University of Agriculture.

Other beneficiaries came from University of Dar es Salaam, Arusha Technical College and some agricultural training colleges in the country. Among the beneficiaries 60 are female and 166 male. “We truly thank the embassy for granting them visas to go to the US,” he said.

Sugeco has been collaborating with different partners including the WISE Foundation and the CAEP International Exchange Program. In Tanzania Sugeco has been collaborating with the government through Ministry of Agriculture, Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office Ministry targeting youth and the disabled.

"The worthiness of the program, its contribution and the benefit gained, has by far enhanced to address the skills gap for our graduates beyond expectations. It has contributed largely to the country's priorities in developing competent human resources in agribusiness. The milestone acquired as well as the potential for enhancing agribusiness growth in Tanzania is phenomenal,'' he explained.  “We are undoubtedly very impressed by the hands-on support received from US government in bridging the skills gap to our youth in Tanzania.

He requested the Ambassador to grant more VISA to youth interns who have got the placement in the US.  SUGECO feels that we need to do more and it’s our wish to now establish After US Internship Program as an acceleration program to support the beneficiaries and increase their reach to support other youth.

Some of the beneficiaries of the program, namely; Francis Macha, Dickson Anthony and Mediana Mwakyulu explained that while in US they learnt a lot of new skills and knowledge on agribusiness opportunities. As a result, they have developed new hands on knowledge and skills which they are making use of in their daily activities.

In a vote of thanks, Sugeco board Chairperson, Dr Anna Temu urged the beneficiaries to be good role models and use their knowledge and skills to participate fully as investors in the agriculture sector.