Bahir Dar University and the Amhara Regional Agricultural Bureau in collaboration with Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA), a humanitarian organization, signed an agreement to provide new curricula to rural development station workers. The parties entering into this memorandum of understanding will enable them to provide training to rural development station workers in four new curricula.
Dr. Bimrew Tamrat, Scientific Director of Bahir Dar University Institute of Technology, who signed the agreement on behalf of Bahir Dar University, stated that Bahir Dar University is one of the largest in the country offering various programs up to PhDs. However, Dr. Bimrew added, much is expected from institutions like BDU to focus on solving community problems through research based knowledge.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the Regional Agriculture Bureau, the Deputy Head of the Bureau, Dr. Almaz Gizew said that the Sasakawa Africa Association is working together with the universities and the Agriculture Bureau to achieve the national goals set by the government.
Dr. Almaz said that there are more than 31,000 rural development station workers in the region. She added that if proper work is not done by revising the current curriculum to match the number of workers, it will not be able to bring about change. The head of the office emphasized that it is difficult to see changes in agriculture through campaign based moves; it rather requires scholars to support the sector with research and technology inputs.
Dr. Getachew Alemayehu, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Bahir Dar University told the participants that despite the purchase of machinery to modernize the agriculture in the region, machineries are still not in use and are broken due disuse because of the lack of manpower to operate them, so Dr. Getachew called for all concerned to cooperate and train experts to be able to use the machineries at disposal.
Sasakawa Africa Association (SAA) Country Director, Dr. Fentahun Mengstie, explained how Sasakawa was founded. He recalled that since 1986, the productivity of Ethiopia's agriculture has decreased in all crops, and the country's total production was 54 million quintals. At that time, there was drought and food security problems, so Sasakawa was brought to life by a Japanese investor in 1993.
Mentioning the fact that Sasakawa has been doing great work in research and training since its establishment, Dr. Fentahun said it will continue working hard to modernize agriculture in the country.
The four curricula under review were: Crop Science extension, Animal Science extension, Natural Science Management extension and Horticulture Science extension.