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Two Fellows start agriculture training programme after chat

MartinAtAGCO

Two Tutu Fellows are collaborating on a pioneering and ambitious agribusiness training programme.  They hatched the idea last year, when 2015 Fellow Martin Mbaya and 2013 Fellow Nuradin Osman got chatting at the 10-year celebration of the Tutu Leadership Fellowship at Nirox Foundation Park.  The new AGCO agribusiness qualification will develop skills, leadership and strategic expertise in youth to support the African agricultural sector at a time when farmers are being asked to do more with less.

Mbaya said that one of their scaling goals envisions an Africa-wide learning strategy that can tap into the youth bulge.  The two-year agribusiness qualification is a partnership between Kenyan-based Strathmore Business School (SBS) and AGCO, a global manufacturer of agricultural equipment.  Mbaya - an entrepreneur - is a lecturer with the business school, and Osman is a Vice President and the General Manager of AGCO Africa.

The Dean at SBS, George Njenga, said the course involves practical training and application of skills. “What we are looking for is attitude, aptitude and passion to go into professional farming, not necessarily  university graduates.”  Upon successful completion, graduates will be considered for potential  job opportunities within AGCO and the agricultural supply chain in Africa.  Nuradin Osman said the training is part of the company’s plans to build a  competent human resource pool to manage its business interests  on the continent. It is the first training programme to focus on developing junior management for agricultural value chains.

The training programme pilot will target 25 Kenyans who will get exposure in three African countries where AGCO has a presence: at ADGCO Africa HQ in Johannesburg; at the AGCO Future Farm - Training & Learning Centre in Lusaka; and in Kenya.  The pilot programme will provide a template for an Africa-wide training strategy.  The training will last two years and should launch in the first quarter of 2018.

In developing the coursework, SBS will also partner with Harper Adams University in the UK and The Bridge Africa in Kenya.  The curriculum is being designed from scratch to allow any youth with an interest in agriculture to spend two years earning a practical academic credential and gain associated work experience with an immediate opportunity to work at AGCO or within the value chains it serves.  

As part of the effort, the partners are exploring digital learning as a scaling strategy for ultimate continental reach. This is what sparked the conversation at Nirox between Osman and Mbaya.  Osman had shared his Africa vision for AGCO and had mentioned that his company and the sector was short of home-grown management talent. Mbaya was already working on digital learning for another sector across Africa, so the opportunity in agriculture was seen as massive and also a good fit.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 25 September for the new agribusiness course, which will be known as the AGCO Agribusiness Qualification. It was signed by AGCO; Strathmore Business School in Kenya; Harper Adams University in the UK; and Kenya-based The Bridge Africa, which runs programs to prepare graduates for employment.

Interested students can seek to enroll in the programme on the Strathmore website.

Full statements on the announcement can be read at AGCOcorp and at Strathmore Business School’s websites.

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Monday, 23 October 2017

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