New course to improve agricultural communication in eastern Africa

A new postgraduate course for agricultural scientists will be launched in 2008 in eastern Africa to help improve the way agricultural scientists communicate research information to the region’s small-scale farmers.

The Association for Strengthening Agricultural Research in Eastern and Central Africa (ASARECA), through its Regional Agricultural Information Network (RAIN), is finalizing plans to launch a new Master of Science program in Agricultural Information and Communication Management.

The two-year program will initially be offered at Uganda’s Makerere University and Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania. Other universities that plan to launch the program are Alemaya University in Ethiopia and Kenya’s Egerton, Maseno and Moi Universities and University of Nairobi.

“Participating universities from the Eastern and Central Africa region are undertaking various procedures to roll out the programme in their respective universities in the coming academic year,” says Jacqueline Nyagahima, an Information Officer at ASARECA.

The proposed program hopes to fill a gap in most agricultural training programs in African universities, whose graduates lack adequate capacity to integrate information and communication technology in communicating agricultural knowledge.

The course is designed to produce experts in agricultural information and communication management who are competent to develop and operate agricultural information systems, carry out research on issues relating to the use of agricultural information and provide professional agricultural information support.