Project supports Climate-Smart Agriculture (CSA) teaching in agricultural training institutes in Tanzania
One way to help farmers cope with climate change and its threat to their livelihood is to ensure the extension officers who work with them are knowledgeable on climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices and technologies and how to apply them in different agro-climatic zones and production systems.
In this regard, the Building Capacity for Resilient Food Security in Tanzania, supported by the USAID mission in the country, is working with agricultural training institutes to ensure CSA is taught comprehensively to the students who will, in turn, support farmers to adopt these technologies and practices.
CSA incorporates practices and technologies that sustainably increase productivity, build resilience, and support farmers to adapt to climate change. Where possible, CSA helps reduce or remove greenhouse gases (mitigation) to ensure food security and meet development goals (FAO 2010).
The project started the training by reviewing the institutes’ curriculum and identifying gaps in relation to CSA. This was followed by the development of supplementary materials to address the gaps.
Coincidentally, the government was also reviewing the curriculum, and therefore, the project submitted the supplementary materials to the review team. Two–thirds of the new content was incorporated into the new curriculum that schools rolled out in October 2019.
The project also carried out training for tutors from these institutions to confidently deliver the additional CSA content to their students. They also received supplementary material to serve as a reference in their teaching.
“The revised curriculum
was well received, especially the new CSA module. The students are also excited because they are getting new skills and knowledge that meet the needs of future job market demands,” explained Orest Ivangavanga, a tutor at Mahuya College who was among those who received training.
Mtabili Mgendwa, a second–year student, pursuing his Certificate of General Agriculture at Mahuya College, corroborates this: “The new modules have enabled us to understand the appropriate technologies and practices to implement in relation to climate change and for different agroecological zones. At our college in Songea, we practice contour farming because it is a hilly area; the technology stops the soils from being washed away by heavy rainfalls. This has helped us to use the land that before was difficult to cultivate due to fear of losing crops from rain.”
To enhance CSA learning, the colleges have established demonstration plots for the students to learn about the practices and technologies practically. The demo plots have different technologies and practices, depending on the ecological zones.
“Students have been implementing what they have been learning in class about CSA in the demo plot. For example, they have planted Glircidia trees for soil management and implemented soil and water management technologies like ‘fanya juu’ and ‘fanya chini’ terraces,” said Orest.
Some of the colleges established CSA clubs as another avenue for practical learning. Where other clubs were already in existence, they added CSA technologies and practices to their activities.
The project has trained 63 tutors from 31 agricultural training institutions and colleges across the country, both government and private, in two Training of Trainers (ToT) conducted in 2019 to get acquainted with the revised agriculture curriculum that incorporated CSA modules. The project has followed up and supported the tutors in teaching the CSA concepts in the new curriculum.