In an effort to strengthen the outreaching to majority of communities in Tanzania, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) is initiating trainings on horticulture and poultry agri-businesses for self-employment of youths in Dodoma Region. Besides the leadership role of SUA in these forthcoming youths incubation trainings, the short courses involve Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) as funding partner supporting the project. As part of this training, a team of SUA staff comprising the Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) as coordinating organization together with horticulture and poultry experts recently conducted a preparatory visit in Dodoma. The visit was conducted from 6th-8th April 2020 at Bihawana Farmers Training Centre (BFTC) where the two core trainings on horticulture and poultry will be conducted with agri-business and entrepreneurship included as a cross-cutting key components.
Photo 1: Bihawana Farmers Training Centre (BFTC) administration office in Dodoma
Sokoine University of Agriculture and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) youth incubation trainings were originally planned to begin in March 2020. The timing of the trainings was delayed amid the emergence of pandemic COVID-19 disease and will now start in the mid of September 2020. A total of 200 youths from Dodoma are expected to benefit from this initiative. Various categories of youth will be involved including:
- Unemployed formally-educated and formally-uneducated youths residing in villages
- Youths farmers from poor and disadvantaged groups
- Vulnerable youths, men and women
- Youths graduates aspiring to join agricultural sector
This collaborative SUA and FAO training project will mainly be practical to provide the much needed hands on skills for self-employment of the selected youths. Hence, the training will constitute 80% practical sessions and 20% theory. Bihawana Farmers Training Centre (BFTC) was strategically selected considering proximity of residences where participants of the course will originate. During the preliminary visit, the SUA team conducted a quick assessment of the training facilities that will support intended capacity building activities.
Photo 2: SUA team led by the Director ICE, Prof. Mwaseba (R) and then Principal of BFTC Ms Cecilia Kiondo (C) carefully observing social distance while posing for a group photo
Expected outputs of the training are as follows:
- Hands on practical skills on horticulture and poultry and agri-business knowledge to 200 youth enhanced
- Business model developed and at least 200 trainees linked with potential stakeholders
- Starter kits for 85 youth in horticulture and 30 youth in poultry provided
- Training database to facilitate monitoring and coaching developed
The preparatory visit was conducted consistent with Guideline No.5 of Undertaking Outreach Activities at SUA (Provision of Short Courses). According to this guideline, “course designing should include preparation of manuals for participants, materials and demonstrations depending on the nature of the training”. Apart from this visit, manuals for undertaking the three courses have been developed by SUA experts in collaboration with the ICE.
2. Facilities for Supporting the Incubation Training
Bihawana Farmers Training Centre is currently having two classrooms each having a capacity to accommodate 25-30 training participants.
2.1. Facilities for horticultural training
Water: Is plenty and can be distributed to different working sites using horse pipe
Propagation structures: There are tunnels that will be used for propagation at times of rainfall. Sufficient trees shade is available working out door when it is not raining. Plots for open field practical sessions are also available.
Materials: Containers/Polybags, Grafting / budding Knives, Tying strips sheet:
These will be acquired in Morogoro or Dodoma.
Plant materials for practicing propagation:
Seeds: For root stock establishment exercise (mango, avocado and rough lemon seeds) will be acquired in Morogoro
Rootstock for grafting and budding: These materials will be acquired in Morogoro as experience showed that most of the grafted/ budded fruit seedling is sourced from Morogoro.
Scions/Bud wood: These will be collected from SUA, Morogoro. However, orchard available in Dodoma will used to provide practical on scion selection and collection.
Screen houses: There are three screen houses 15m x 8m constructed with FAO financial support that are available for providing hands on skills on horticulture.
Photo 3: SUA team visiting areas where screen houses are located at Bihawana Farmers Trainig Centre
2.2. Facilities for Poultry Training
Bihawana FTC has available structures that can be adapted for use in raising poultry as part of the training. Besides, a nearby poultry keeper who is a teacher at Bihawana Secondary School has offered to allow her chicken facilities to be used for practical sessions of the youth incubation training.
Photo 4: One of the chicken house at Bihawana Secondary School near Bihawana Farmers Training Centre
2.3. Accommodation Facility for Trainees
Bihawana Farmer Training Centre has two Hostels having a total of 12 rooms with capacity to accommodate 40-42 trainees. The facility has been renovated with support of FAO to provide accommodation for youth attending the trainings.
2.4. Meals for Trainees
A package of meals covering breakfast, midmorning tea/coffee, lunch and dinner is offered at BFTC
3. Training Sessions
Considering the capacity of hostel and the need for effective training, each training batch will constitute at most 30 participants. This means seven rounds of trainees each conducted for one week are needed to achieve an output of training 200 participants for seven weeks. Horticultural training will constitute four batches for making maximum use of installed training infrastructure whereas poultry training will comprise three batches. Horticulture and poultry trainings will alternate each other whereas the agri-business and entrepreneurship training will be conducted throughout seven weeks.
4. Enhancing Impact of the Training
Selection criteria of trainees have been carefully developed to ensure that expected impacts of the training are realized. Furthermore, the concept of a farmer group will be flexibly applied depending on reality on the ground. In one situation, a group could mean joint business venture, whereas in another situation a group of youth can be thought of close collaboration while each beneficiary undertakes own business.
The visit at BFTC has been insightful in anticipating how to organize and conduct the youth incubation training. It has provided an idea of maximum number of trainee (30 participants) per batch that can be invited for the training. Understanding of how to organize both theory and practical session has also been made clear. Overall, the visit has provided an example of how to operationalize the Guideline for Undertaking Outreach Activities at SUA, in particular, Guideline No 5. on “Provision of Short Courses”.