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A range of skills are needed to turn around the fortunes of small-scale producers and other value chain actors across Africa
Broader set of skills is required to transform the agri. sector in Africa: Three categories: Core, Support and Cross-sectoral professions.
2020 ReSAKSS Annual Conference - Plenary Session V Enabling Environment for Transforming Agrifood Systems
Skills Development for Value
Chain Actors in African
Dr. Oliver K. Kirui,
Centre for Development Research (ZEF),
University of Bonn, Germany.
November 5, 2020
Value chain actors (farmers, aggregators, processors, wholesalers,
retailers,, transporters, producer organizations etc.) are critical for
What types of skills development do they need to realize this agr.
Describe skills gaps and training needs of various agrifood VC actors in Africa
Highlight the skills development and training provision for agrifood VC actors –
focus on continental interventions and some significant national initiatives
Highlight some policy recommendations that would enhance to skills
development and for agrifood VC development in Africa.
Aims of this chapter
Skills and knowledge are key inputs for agricultural productivity and a
precondition for effective and efficient management of resources.
Vocational training and skills development could transform small-scale
producers and other VC actors into skilled entrepreneurs – increase
productivity, productive and sustainable economic enterprises.
Impact of training and skills: higher productivity can increase food supply,
lower food prices, better nutrition
Training and skills on specific topics such as post-harvest handling are more important
Ultimately; improved food security, increased incomes in the agrifood & allied sectors
Importance of skills development
The (agricultural) TVET sector is grossly inadequate across Africa:
There are far too few training opportunities for young people.
TVET institutes in many countries have suffered from many years of neglect
(poorly equipped with physical, human, financial resources).
Where some training is available;
Often lacks practical relevance to labour market needs,
Does not match the needs of the private sector,
Focusses mainly (if not solely) on technical (hard) skills,
The curriculum in many such institutions is outdated.
Low quality of teaching in many institutions:
Most of the teaching staff lack the requisite combination of academic competencies
alongside technical qualifications and industry experience.
Skill gaps and institutional challenges
1. Technical skills: e.g. land preparation methods, proper use of inputs (seeds,
fertilizers) and machinery, crop and soil management, and postharvest
handling and storage.
2. Processing skills: for transforming raw products into shelf-stable products that
preserve the nutritional content of foods, smooth seasonal availabilities,
enable wider distribution, reducing food waste.
3. Management skills: help value chain actors efficiently manage their physical,
financial, and human capital resources, thereby boosting production quantities.
4. Entrepreneurial and business skills: increase the profitability of enterprises
(input and output market participation and engaging with other VC actors).
Training needs of agrifood VC actors
Industrial service specialist
Food technology specialist
Dairy technology specialist
Examples of core
Insurance and finance
Office management specialist
Examples of support
Animal breeding specialist
Crop technology specialist
Home economics specialist
Specialist for agri. services
Mechantronics technichian for
Fish farm specialist
Air conditioning technologist
Waste management specialist
Examples of overarching
Relevant professions for agrifood sector
The Africa-wide ATVET, as envisioned in the CAADP, seeks to offer a solution
to Africa’s lack of trained and qualified smallholder farmers.
Develop and implement market-oriented qualification measures and coherent plans.
Incorporate ATVET components into national education systems.
Piloted (2012-2015) in six countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Kenya,
Malawi, and Togo and focus on specific (2-3) value chains in each country.
Key elements of success:
Institutional analysis of ATVET institutions
Identification of priority value chains for ATVET development
Selection of training centres for the implementation of pilot measures
Mapping of skills needs in agri. VCs and organizational capacity of the institutions
Training “pilot” individuals and institutions
Country-level ATVET initiatives
Alage ATVET College (Ethiopia)
>4,200 ha of land, infrastructure &
facilities for practical agri. training
Multidisciplinary training of development
(extension) agents (DAs)
>60,000 local teachers, DAs, and
Mix courses: short-term trainings (to
DAs >>> farmers), outreach programs
Songhaï Training Center (Benin)
Dense collaboration (> 40) of public &
private organizations & universities,
Targets young entrepreneurs; SD, creating
jobs, prevent rural exodus
Training is open to anyone wishing to
receive agri. entrepreneurship skills
Framework to monitor & support trainees
post training (microcredit, farm set up)
Practical and entrepreneurial curricula
Cascading info transfer & teaching system
Total annual costs in Kenya: from $ 204
for apprenticeships to US$ 1,704 for the
most expensive private TVET lasting 2-
Uganda: median cost is US$ 444 for a
Ghana and Mozambique: Total costs is
$ 1,500 (3-4 cost of secondary
Trainees perform skilled tasks (time x
wage that a firm would need to pay
Trainees performing unskilled tasks
(equiv. to wage that the firm would
have had to pay unskilled workers)
Direct influence on teaching and
learning programs to suit skills’ needs
Reduction in future costs of recruitment,
induction and in-house training
Costs-benefit projections of TVET
Note: Investment per person for ATVET is about US$ 500, but it significantly fosters productivity
Investment to advance skills is critical for African agrifood sector:
Curriculum should target beyond the core professions at different stages of the VCs.
Expand focus of skill development in both agri. and non-agri. sectors in rural areas
Priority: identify significant VCs (employ many people and generate incomes)
and to develop curricula for the various actors in these VCs.
Adapt to emerging innovative training delivery (e.g. use of ICTs, entrepreneurial
education, administer more practical learning).
Skills development should draw from successful examples & models from the
continent and experiences from other countries (e.g. German dual system).
Provide incentives to encourage private sector participation in skills development
Conclusions and policy priorities