Sokoine University initiatives impress government

19Jul 2022
Gerald Kitabu
The Guardian
Sokoine University initiatives impress government

​​​​​​​THE Sokoine University Graduate Entrepreneurs Cooperative (SUGECO) in collaboration with Maryland University and ADC Tanzania has developed seven training modules focused on agribusiness management in agricultural value chains for grassroots enterprises development.

A cross-section of 25 Participants from ten African countries visit SUGECO farming activities during the training in Morogoro recently. Photo: Correspondent Gerald Kitabu

In line with that SUGECO has also developed pilot training of trainers for international organizations working at grassroots level in Africa.

Inaugurating collaborative training workshop for twenty-five beneficiaries from ten African countries organized by SUGECO in Morogoro recently, Agriculture Ministry’s director for land use planning and management Eng. Juma Mdeke described the move as a great honour to Tanzania.

The training aimed at piloting the standardized developed training modules and customizes the content for grassroots communities in Africa.

“Developing the curriculum and pilot training of trainers for grassroots organizations has promoted SUGECO and Tanzania internationally.

He said the Ministry will continue supporting organizations that are training and preparing youth to become successful entrepreneurs in agriculture.

“Preparing the youth on hands-on-skills to become job creators is one of the priority areas of the Ministry of agriculture and we shall make sure that this is achieved.

He said the youth must engage in productive agriculture in any form such as block farming so that they can rescue themselves from poverty.

“We are encouraging the youth to form groups such as AMCOS and Cooperatives so that they can access agricultural inputs such as fertilizers and extension advisory services on time,” he said.

He urged the youth to take agriculture as solution to their daily problems such as unemployment saying it the only sector that employs a good number of people.

“Agriculture is not punishment. That’s why you see it employs big number of people. Therefore, the youth should take it seriously and conduct scientific agriculture using latest technologies,” he said.

This work was funded by United States African Development Foundation (USADF), this a great honour to SUGECO and our country, he said.

He said the government is aware of the training requirement for those who are implementing different projects at the grassroots, especially in Agribusiness.

SUGECO Executive director Revocatus Kimario said it is honour for the cooperative and the country to be trusted to develop the seven curricula and training materials for other African countries that will address the challenges in the Agribusiness Sector.

These modules were developed by the SUGECO technical team of instructors and consultants who shared their many years of experience in working on agribusiness economics, executive programs, and agricultural value chain in Africa and worldwide to compile “Agribusiness management in agricultural value chains training for grassroots enterprises development.”

The modules developed are entrepreneurship and business skills, strategic leadership, financial management and ICT application in agribusiness, marketing and ecosystem development, post-harvest management, food safety, and hygiene, and adult learning perspectives.

These modules are useful for those involved in training participants at different education levels and grassroots organizations in agricultural value chains. The modules were developed to train trainers on the best practical ways to help executives in agribusiness value chains to enhance their problem-solving and decision-making skills as they continue learning, questioning, testing, and addressing different opportunities and challenges in managing their projects.

The modules were delivered to the participants from ten (10) African countries during the collaborative training workshop.

The training gathered participants from Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zambia, DR Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Somalia, and South Sudan to equip them with skills on the delivery of these modules in the grassroots organizations in their respective countries as part of empowering grassroots enterprises of USADF funded project towards impactful and sustainable economic development in their respective countries.

For instance, a module focused on the application of ICT in Agribusiness was designed to help participants understand and appreciate the need for integrating ICT in Agribusiness Development as well as the technology required for successful business operations and value addition.

Participant from Kenya Lydia Kimani and Albino Gawdar from South Sudan commended the government of Tanzania support to local organizations saying that reflects its commitment and determination to see these organizations grows and provides services to the community.

They said modules are focused on transforming agriculture. They are relevant to the real situation on the ground in most African countries where local organizations are working at grassroots level. 

“The modules are practical, relevant to many organizations in Africa working at the grassroots level.

“I have loved Tanzania for beautiful environment, culture and hospitality. I have also loved traditional food. It is real wonderful,” said Lydia.

SUGECO Board Chair Dr. Anna Temu explained that one of modules was Information and Communication Technology (ICT); she said this is very important for the farmers as it supports them in facilitating access to finance, Markets, technologies, weather forecasts, and information on pests.

“Farmers must be updated all the time. We have heard of E-Mazao, Call centre of the Ministry of agriculture which was launched recently. These are pathways through which the farmer can be kept informed of development of agriculture,” she said.