By Dipo Olowookere
No fewer than 20 students have been enrolled on an agribusiness training programme at the Strathmore University in Kenya with a focused on developing the skills, leadership and strategic expertise to drive African agricultural prosperity.
The programme, called AGCO Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) was launched on March 6, 2018, by AGCO, Your Agriculture Company, a worldwide manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment.
The AAQ is a joint effort between AGCO, Strathmore Business School (SBS) in Nairobi, Harper Adams University in the UK and Kenya-based The Bridge Africa which runs programs to prepare graduates for employment.
The qualification delivers an accredited two-year agribusiness program for students aged 20-30 who already hold a degree. On completion of the course, successful candidates may have the opportunity to join AGCO and its partners.
Welcoming guests to the launch event, Gary Collar, AGCO Senior Vice President and General Manager Asia-Pacific and Africa said: “This is an important day for agribusiness education in Africa and I warmly congratulate our new students on gaining their places on the program. The AAQ was initiated by AGCO as a direct response to attract and develop young talent in the crucial agribusiness sector.
“Together with our partners, we are making a long-term commitment to address the management skills’ shortage. We are determined to foster the expertise required to work successfully in the agricultural supply chain and tackle the current recruitment challenges our industry faces here.”
Chief Guest at the breakfast launch event at SBS was the Zeinab Hussein, Permanent Secretary for Post Training & Skills Development, Republic of Kenya, who spoke with students enrolled on the course.
AAQ participant Ernest Muchai remarked: “This program is unique as it has a wealth of experience behind it. I’m interested in enhancing productivity and using technology in agriculture so the AAQ is ideal. The opportunities available in agriculture are massive – not just for people interested in farming but for people who can offer services that farmers can benefit from.”
Fellow student Sharon Waswa adds: “Agricultural mechanization is the missing link between small-scale agriculture and commercial agriculture. By taking part in the AAQ, I hope to be able to help to bridge that gap. The only way that Africa can be transformed is through agricultural sector and this is where the opportunities are.”
The AAQ course syllabus has wide scope covering areas such as agricultural mechanization, leadership skills, business management, agricultural science, marketing and farm management. To provide essential on-the-ground, practical experience for students, the program includes workplace modules with AGCO and its business partners.
Commenting, Nuradin Osman, AGCO Vice President and General Manager Africa, said, “The AAQ program is a catalyst for change in the agribusiness sector across Africa. We are all very proud and excited to see our vision for a new qualification become reality and wish our new students every success in their endeavours.”
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