Sokoine University Hosts Launch Event for New Public Private Partnership for Agricultural Mechanization Training

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Sokoine University Hosts Launch Event for New Public Private Partnership for Agricultural Mechanization Training

Morogoro, Tanzania – On Friday, April 1, 2016, Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) in partnership with the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI) and John Deere launched the Tractor Training & Research Program, aimed at improving practical knowledge of farmers in the region and increasing agricultural production through mechanization. The launch was hosted at SUA’s Department of Engineering Sciences and Technology and attended by approximately 300 participants including farmers, private sector companies, extension workers, students, faculty, input dealers and traders. The new partnership is supported by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Speakers from USAID, SUA, John Deere and iAGRI presented during the event, followed by an exhibition of agricultural input suppliers. In addition to the event’s organizers and sponsors, participants were also in attendance from various institutions such as Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF), the Commission on Science and Technology-COSTECH, LonAgro-Tanzania, the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor of Tanzania (SAGCOT), and the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation (TPSF).

The event will feature innovative developments in the area of agricultural mechanization in addition to providing opportunities for networking and collaborative partnerships among agricultural sector stakeholders. The launch event will facilitate the exchange of ideas, partnerships, and approaches to increasing agricultural productivity and efficiency.

The launch featured the donation of a fully-equipped, 75 horsepower tractor from John Deere to SUA that will be used as demonstration equipment during the training program. The comprehensive training will consist of three short courses: (1) tractor operations, (2) tractor mechanics and (3) tractor-hire business management for farmers and tractor operators. The courses will be available to participants from throughout the country. Participants in the courses will also have access to affordable finance to facilitate the acquisition of equipment tailored to deliver higher yields for smallholder farmers as part of John Deere’s S.M.A.R.T. campaign to raise productivity in African agriculture. The tractor will also be used by SUA for practical training in agricultural mechanization for B.Sc. students and for applied research to be conducted by members of academic staff and M.Sc. and Ph.D. students.

iAGRI aims to prepare the next generation of agricultural leaders in the public and private sectors to strengthen the core institutions of agricultural research and education in Tanzania. Ohio State University (OSU) is the managing entity for a consortium of six U.S. universities including Michigan State University, Virginia Tech, Tuskegee University, University of Florida and Iowa State University.  Key partners in Tanzania include SUA and MALF. The project prepares teachers, researchers, extension practitioners, and students in Tanzania to cooperatively and effectively address the needs of smallholder farmers and the agribusiness sector.

unnamedThe Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), is a Feed the Future project funded by USAID. It aims to prepare the next generation of agricultural leaders in the public and private sectors to strengthen the core institutions of agricultural research and education in Tanzania. Ohio State University (OSU) is the managing entity for a consortium of six U.S. universities including Michigan State University, Virginia Tech, Tuskegee University, University of Florida and Iowa State University.  Key partners in Tanzania include Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (MALF). The project prepares teachers, researchers, extension practitioners, and students in Tanzania to cooperatively and effectively address the needs of smallholder farmers and the agribusiness sector.