Posted 28 May
Harper Adams University is proud to be a partner in the new Africa Agribusiness Qualification (AAQ) programme launched by the AGCO Agriculture Foundation (AAF) this week.
AAF is a private foundation with the vision to prevent and relieve hunger through agricultural development, and has launched the programme for Africans who want to contribute to Africa’s Agenda 2063 for food security, nutrition, and the agricultural sector.
Starting in September, the 12-month, part-time programme will provide 20 participants with quality agro-industry training, technical and sales skills, leadership development, agro-entrepreneurship management and work experience.
The programme is fully funded by the AAF and implemented through AGCO South Africa’s headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa. Harper Adams University and The Gordon Institute of Business Science will facilitate the programme and technical expertise and support will be provided by AGCO South Africa and the Cerealis Technology Institute in South Africa.
One of the challenges Africa faces is a widening skills gap and lack of qualified professionals entering the industry, as only 2% of university graduates in Africa specialise in agriculture. The AAQ programme is designed to promote sustainable agriculture development and commercial agriculture-based enterprises.
“We believe that access to quality education and hands-on training enhances capacity building and skill development in farming,” said Metti Richenhagen, Director, AGCO Agriculture Foundation. “Almost two-thirds of the world's arable land is in Africa, so the continent has great potential to feed itself and the global population. Through the AAQ program, we hope to empower young Africans who have a passion for the agricultural sector, particularly technical and sales representatives, who can serve as trusted partners to African farmers.”
The new programme has been born out of the success of a phase-one two-year junior management trainee programme delivered at Strathmore Business School after being developed by Strathmore, Harper Adams University and ACGO. It was offered to students in Kenya and South Africa – but the new programme is being rolled out across the continent.
Harper Adams University played a key role in advising on the development of the course and continues to support its delivery, providing teaching elements including agronomy and mechanisation.
The structure of foundation science degrees in agriculture and in agri-business already offered at Harper Adams had served as a base from which to develop the AAQ, which will include work-based modules hosted within AGCO subsidiary companies in Kenya.
Dr Andy Wilcox, Head of the University’s Agriculture and Environment Department, added: "We looked at all the things that benefitted the students most in the first iteration of the AAQ programme and adapted these into an enhanced new version.
“We have added modules in Sales and Marketing and also Agricultural Engineering - and brought on board a wider set of staff expertise from Harper Adams."