Kangile Rajabu Joseph training smallholder farmers in Kayenze, Geita, Tanzania on different options for financing rice production.
Kangile Rajabu Joseph is one of 135 Tanzanian students awarded scholarships to pursue graduate studies in agriculture and related fields. The scholarships are provided by the Innovative Agricultural Research Initiative (iAGRI), a Feed the Future project funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). After completing his iAGRI-funded studies, Kangile is now employed at the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development. In the following, he describes his experience of progressing from a student of agricultural economics to an emerging professional contributing to the food security of Tanzania.
“Many graduates come home from school and have big dreams. If they don’t achieve them at that particular moment, they become disappointed. They look at others who are advancing and become demoralized. However, they don’t have any plans on how to achieve their goals.” For Kangile Joseph, he was determined to pursue his career despite obstacles along the way.
Kangile attained his BSc. Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness in 2010 at Sokoine University of Agriculture (SUA) Morogoro, Tanzania with a 4.3 GPA. After completing his undergraduate studies, he found himself in a situation common among many graduates. He lacked the skills required for entering the job market. He credits determination, resourcefulness, and the support he received from iAGRI and his supervisors as essential to his eventual success.
After several applications, he was accepted for a short-term position as a Research Assistant with SNV-Tanzania. He managed a project to identify historical economic opportunities in the meat sector in Mwanza City. Afterwards, Kangile was employed as a Loan Officer with a non-profit, microfinance organization, Foundation for International Community Assistance (FINCA) in their Bunda branch office. His role included a number of responsibilities that increased his competitiveness for future positions in the agricultural sector. These included conducting risk assessments, portfolio management, loan processing, Village Banking training as well as monitoring and evaluation.
The combination of his new skills, research experience and academic training led him to opportunities of increasing seniority. By June of 2012, he was selected for a role working as Agricultural Research Officer with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development.
When it came time to continue his studies, Kangile decided to apply for an iAGRI scholarship. “I wanted to increase my efficiency at work through advanced coursework in agricultural economics.” In 2013, his application was accepted and he joined Cohort III as an M.Sc. student in Agricultural and Applied Economics at SUA in Morogoro, Tanzania and at the University of Pretoria in South Africa. He wrote his M.Sc. thesis on Efficiency in Production by Smallholder Rice Farmers under Cooperative Irrigation Schemes in Pwani and Morogoro Regions, Tanzania.
Photo (left): Kangile inspecting farmer’s rice field for estimation of production costs and determine if the farmer follows the efficiency path of the farm production resources. Photo (right): Kangile working at his office.
At the University of Pretoria, he faced several challenges including coping with advanced IT technology training. “It took me a month to get used to everything in Pretoria including running scripts every morning and the style of web portal communications with instructors. Now, I find that type of interaction very useful and makes learning an easy, comfortable task,” he adds. His ability to adapt to new technologies and to work with colleagues from different countries added to his employability in the agricultural sector.
Today, Kangile aspires to become a successful researcher in the field of agricultural sciences. “Challenges are all a part of the safari – the journey,” he explains. “Each challenge has added to my ability to confront anything that crosses my path.”
“iAGRI helped me to define my career through the MSc training. I was also supported through increasing the people in my network, improving my research skills and enhancing my leadership skills through the webinar series training. As a result, my employers have increased trust in me now that I have the capacity to lead a given section of my team.” His advice to aspiring researchers? “Try each and every opportunity that comes your way,” he states.
Kangile is currently working with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Development stationed at the Chollima Agro-Scientific Research Centre. He is working as an Agricultural Research Officer and head of the Socio-Economics and Farming Systems Research section. Through his work, he hopes to foster the use of labour saving technologies among farmers and encourage the purchase of inputs, increased specialization and participation in cooperatives so that smallholders may benefit more through economies of scale. In the future, he hopes to pursue a PhD and continue to work in the public sector focused on the agricultural sciences.
Read more about Kangile’s work in his publication: Tusekelege, H. K., R. J. Kangile, H. S. Ng’ elenge, et al. 2014. Option for increasing rice yields, profitability, and water saving: a comparative analysis of System of Rice Intensification in Morogoro, Tanzania. International Journal of Recent Biotechnology 2(1): 4-10.