Aissetou Drame Yaye, Rufaro Madakadze


In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), agriculture is the major source of food, income and employment and is considered as the backbone of the economy. However despite the tremendous technological developments in the world, African agriculture has remained small scale, low input, rain-fed and low-tech. Major transformations are needed for agriculture to take its place in driving development. Human capital remains the most important factor for transforming Africa’s agriculture. Higher education is increasingly recognized as a critical aspect of the development process, especially with the growing awareness of the role of science, technology and innovation in economic renewal. Critical needs for tertiary agricultural education (TAE) in Africa include upgrading teaching and learning programmes and processes, improving access to locally relevant education materials, breaking down the institutional and programmatic separation of universities and national Agricultural research institutions, systematically upgrading knowledge and skills of researchers and educators, and creating attractive career opportunities for women and youth through agribusiness skills development. The challenge today is for TAE institutions to link their programmes more effectively to community and industrial development and also to global issues like climate change, food security, nutrition and health, and poverty reduction. This would justify the continued investment in TAE. The food and financial crisis is a challenge to Africa’s agriculture, but also an opportunity since it has enhanced the interest of national, regional and international policymakers and donors to support more investment in agricultural productivity. This will in turn favor the elaboration of well designed and contextualized tertiary agricultural education which can provide scientific expertise, technical innovations and training in strategic areas of education for rural people, industry and policy makers. Strategic partnerships will need to be established between African and non African training institutions to share experiences on best practices and to scale out innovative capacity strengthening initiatives.


Full Text: PDF