Kitsoyaone on his cattle farm
On-line Business Readiness Training for South Africa smallholder farmers
We have just completed an exciting new on-line training programme with over 200 smallholder cattle and poultry farmers in South Africa - 75% of whom had never followed a webinar before. It was a Business Readiness training aimed to sensitise these emerging farmers to agriculture as a BUSINESS and support their journey to become commercial scale farmers, complementing the agri-training they receive from the Sernick Group. Many of them are intending to diversify their farm activities to have more regular cash flow and facilitate investments for expansion. During the 10-week course, there was high engagement during the weekly webinars and the WhatsApp group which also encouraged a lot of peer-to-peer exchange. Video testimonies from some of the participants are available via the link below. This type of on-line training with farmers in remote areas would have been extremely difficult pre-COVID-19. The leap forward in connectivity has opened significant new opportunities. The participants were still plagued with unstable internet and regular power cuts, but the Zoom recordings allowed everyone to follow the course if they missed a session. The success of this training indicates that it is a model that can be implemented in other African countries.
Blended learning Training – Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness
The blended learning training Entrepreneurship in Agribusiness in the Universities in Uganda, Kenya and Somaliland is progressing with the 3rd cohorts of students. It has been slowed down by the partial, or full closing, of the Universities. However, the Trainers have forged on - teaching the course in person when possible and continuing on-line as required. There are over 150 students following the programme currently and we are expecting the first business plans to arrive soon. We are also delighted that one of our Trainers from Somaliland has won a scholarship to study for a Ph.D. in the University of Florida.
With almost 4 years of experience and having trained over 700 young people, we are conducting a detailed study on the impact of the Agribusiness training and will present the results at a conference in Benin in December. The analysis will include the effect on the Universities and their teaching methods, the impact on the Trainers and their personal development, and of course the impact on the students in terms of the number of businesses created - the results they have achieved and the opportunities that have opened for them.
Study on Agribusiness Incubation across Africa
The Study that we have been conducting for the UN-Food & Agriculture Organisation and the Africa Union is now completed and is under review. We analysed over 400 Entrepreneur Support Organisations across Africa to evaluate the strengths, limitations, and opportunities. Concrete actions have been formulated across 10 areas that include: Enhancing networking, communication, and co-operation across the sector, Capturing & sharing best practices; Building a Benchmarking framework to measure impact; Specific areas of capacity building; Strengthening Agribusiness Programmes focused on women; Expanding Agri-processing to capture more value; Agri-tech; Improving Food Safety & quality and Capturing the opportunities of the newly implemented African Continental Free Trade Area.
The African Union has decided to release the Report in September for the Constitution of African Ministers meeting in October for adoption and implementation of the recommendations. We are also contributing to a working group with the FAO and the African Union to build a pan-African programme to further support agribusiness SMEs (Small & Medium Enterprises).
Link to testimonies:
Lenah starting up her vegetable farm
Felicity - cattle & sheep farm