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Farm Africa staff take up new Africa-UK agricultural scholarships

27 March 2015

Farm Africa has entered into a new relationship with the Marshal Papworth Fund which will see African development workers undertaking an intensive short course in sustainable agriculture at a leading UK agricultural college. They will then return to their home countries to share this new knowledge with smallholder farmers.

Farm Africa has nominated eight candidates for the course, four staff members and four from partner organisations. Three come from Kenya, two each from Ethiopia and Tanzania and one from Uganda. Irish charity Self-Help Africa will also nominate staff to attend the course.

The ten-week course will be held at Shuttleworth College in Bedfordshire and will start at the end of April. The course has been carefully tailored to meet the needs of beneficiaries with the key being practical application of knowledge, rather than textbook application. Wherever possible, learning will take place through fieldtrips and in a hands-on way, rather than in the classroom. There will be modules on the use of mobile technology in agriculture, post-harvest management and technology, and the importance of good nutrition to support healthy growth and prevent illness.

The course will be as much about “soft” skills as technical knowledge.  Training other trainers is vital in order to spread skills in isolated rural communities yet too often training can be misinterpreted or forgotten. Students will learn how to pass on knowledge in a user-friendly, visual and practical way. Just as important, students will learn how to communicate with and influence people to help ensure “buy-in” for community programmes.

Farm Africa staff are excited about the forthcoming course and see it as a huge opportunity.

Edgar Kadenge, senior project officer  for the Sorghum and Green Grams value chain project in Kitui region in Kenya says: “By interacting with tutors and other students from different countries, I anticipate to share and learn of the experiences, challenges and successes of agriculture and ultimately implement any innovative cost effective and high impact technologies once I am back home.”

Tumaini Mkenge has been working on the Smallholder Sesame Production and Marketing project in Babati District in Tanzania.  He explains: “This is an opportunity to learn new skills and knowledge that will help me to serve better poor farming communities.”

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Notes to Editor:

About Farm Africa

Farm Africa supports farmers living at subsistence level, constantly at risk of crop failure, to build food and income security so that they can grow a better and reliable future for their families.

By focusing on ‘climate smart’ agricultural and forestry techniques, building market links and adding value to production, Farm Africa unleashes the entrepreneurial abilities of the farmers and rural communities they work with. Farm Africa believes passionately that smallholders can and will play a key role in achieving rural prosperity in Africa.

For more information about Farm Africa please visit www.farmafrica.org or follow us on Twitter

About Marshal Papworth Fund:

Marshal Papworth is a charitable Fund formed in 2001 from funds bequeathed from East Anglian farmer Marshal Papworth. It is wholly managed by the East of England Agricultural Society. Through its scholarship programmes the Fund develops life changing, land-based skills, enabling students, from developing countries to facilitate sustainable farming within their own communities.

For more information, please contact the Farm Africa Press Office:

Kaye Stearman, 020 7841 5271 / kayes@farmafrica.org