Why consider Women in Agriculture Education?


Written by Maureen Agena – Social Media Consultant

Conducting a training for social reporters and journalism students

Conducting a training for social reporters and journalism students

I was recently in Maputo, Mozambique attending the 4th Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM) biennial conference. RUFORUM is a consortium of 42 Universities across Africa and a platform for catalyzing change is African Universities.  I had gone for a consultancy to train young social reporters and journalism students in Mozambique who had been tasked to cover the proceedings of the event in real time via social media.  I have in the past conducted similar trainings but this was a special one given the nature of the trainees. It was a mixture of English, French and Portuguese speakers. After successfully completing my trainings, I had an opportunity of attending some of the plenary sessions as I monitored my ‘students’ do their work.

It was not a surprise that one of those sessions that I chose to attend, focused on the role of women in Agriculture and why they should not be ignored in institutions of higher learning and specifically Agricultural education.

In her opening remarks, Her Excellence Dhlamini Nkosazana Zuma the chairperson of the African Union commission mentioned that transforming Agriculture in Africa required innovative scientific research, educational and training approaches.  She added that transformation demands a bold vision backed by bold actions.  Ms. Dhlamini said that Africans from all walks of life must contribute to a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth, so that Africa can take its rightful place in the world. By 2025, all young persons under 25 in the world will be African. They must therefore be intellectually empowered with relevant skills especially in science and technology. she added. On the role of women in Africa’s development, Ms. Dhlamini had this to say

“Women not only make up half of Africa’s population but also produce the other half, they form 70% of African workforce. We must empower them. We must have deliberate strategies to ensure girls’ access to higher education and more women in the academia”

She challenged participants when she mentioned that no country has ever developed on primary education alone and emphasized the value and need to focus on Higher education. In her opinion, Africa needs to have its own agenda and pursue it. “We do not need the UN to tell us to take our children to school” she said. Click here to read more

The Future of Agriculture and Its Skills Requirements in Africa – In Response to the African Union Vision 2063


Written by Bongiwe Nomandi Njobe – Executive Director at Tiger Brands Ltd and RUFORUM Board Member

Above: Bongiwe Nomandi Njobe - Executive Director at Tiger Brands Ltd and RUFORUM Board Member

Above: Bongiwe Nomandi Njobe – Executive Director at Tiger Brands Ltd and RUFORUM Board Member

As part of the celebrations to mark the 10 year anniversary of RUFORUM at the Fourth Biennial Conference held 21-25 July in Maputo, Mozambique, selected individuals provided reflections to RUFORUM network stakeholders. The following speech was delivered by Dr. Bongiwe Njobe, a member of the RUFORUM Board to RUFORUM Vice Chancellors at an evening event.  

I would like to start by expressing my deep appreciation for the opportunity to join – what I am coming to respect as a formidable – deeply rooted and oriented African led organisation – RUFORUM at the board level.  When I accepted to join I was not aware that part of my induction would be the need to – make a maiden speech – clearly I now know that there are no free dinners at RUFORUM. Whilst I appreciate the chance to share my thoughts on the future of agriculture and its skills requirements for our continent – I am also humbled by the challenge, as my intimate knowledge of all the recent advancements in the agricultural higher education sector is really limited and probably influenced by my experiences in South Africa and the SADC region. So whilst I will not ‘take the fifth’ on what I am about to say I do apologize in advance – in case any comments I make are out of context.

Synchronicity – a term originally coined by Carl Jung during his research into the phenomenon of the collective unconscious, has come to mean ‘the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection’. The holding of this RUFORUM Biennial Meeting on its 10th year of existence may have been a simple timing matter flowing from the biennial planning cycle; that it is held in Maputo where the African Heads of State adopted CAADP may be a coincidence, furthermore that it is also held during the year that the African Union (AU) has declared and celebrated as the Year of Agriculture and Food Security as part of the celebrations for CAADP at 10 may have been deliberate and if I may humbly add that this is also a year in which I find my way back to the area of my passion – African Agricultural Development – and that in my book – amounts to Synchronicity.  Irrespective of how we see the overlap in these reasons, I would like to start by adding my congratulations to the founders of the concept, implementers of the ideas and the beneficiaries of the programmes who are now the inspiration for reflection. Click here to read more

Grand vision for an African-owned drive on food security


Written By Jon Spaull- SciDevNet

Image credit: Sven Torfinn/Panos

Image credit: Sven Torfinn/Panos

[MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE] “Your granary will never be filled by your neighbour.” This is a Mozambican saying that was used by Graca Michel, member of International Panel of Elders and a former Mozambican minister of education, to illustrate the point that Africa cannot rely on outside help to achieve food security.

It was a recurring theme at the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Africa (RUFORUM) conference here in Maputo at which I heard her speak: Africa must take ownership of the responses to the challenges it faces in the twenty-first century.

It was a theme also elaborated on by Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, chair of the African Union Commission.  While appreciating the assistance of foreign donors she said it “cannot be the mainstay of our development — no country has ever developed on donor money”.  As the UN post-2015 development goals were in the process of being finalised, Africa needed its own vision and goals, she said.

“We must tell them what we need to do post-2015. We must know what we want and do it irrespective of what other people say,” she told the audience. Read More