Addis Ababa – In an important advancement for African agriculture, nine Tanzanian leaders were among the 78 graduates of the Centre for African Leaders in Agriculture (CALA) program. This ceremony, held on December 7, 2023, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, signifies a critical step forward for African agricultural development.
The CALA programme, a visionary initiative led by AGRA and implemented alongside partners like the African Management Institute (AMI) and Policy Link, provided an intensive 16-month experience. It focused on practical leadership skills and the effective rollout of national agriculture initiatives, with a special emphasis on innovative strategies to mitigate post-harvest losses.
CALA’s Second cohort for the Advanced Leadership programme began in 2022 and consists of 80 participants from 8 countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Selected from over 1,000 applicants, the 80 individuals represent the continent’s most dynamic leaders in agriculture, with 45% of the leaders drawn from government agencies across the 8 countries, 26% from the private sector and 29% from civil society.
The nine graduates from Tanzania represent a remarkable array of professionals, each bringing their unique expertise to the forefront of agricultural development: Dr. Honest N. Kessy, as the Director of National Food Security in the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture, plays a crucial role in shaping national food security policies and strategies. Nyabundege Frank, the Managing Director at Tanzania Agricultural Development Bank, is instrumental in the financial aspects of agricultural development, providing vital fiscal insights and support. Bahati Hakimu, serving as the Acting Head of Regulatory Services at the Sugar Board of Tanzania, oversees regulatory compliance and standards, ensuring the integrity and sustainability of the sugar industry.
Tulalumba Mloge as an Advisor to the CEO at SAGCOT Centre Limited, demonstrating a unique combination of leadership and strategic guidance. Prudence Lugendo, working as a Policy Specialist and Projects Manager at SAGCOT, effectively combines policy knowledge with project management skills, playing a key role in implementing agricultural initiatives.
Dr. Anasia Maleko, Director at Small Medium Agribusiness Enterprise Development Services (SMAED SERVICES), is in charge of Private Sector Development in the Agri-connect program in Dodoma. Her current focus is on the private sector development in the 3 value chain of tea, coffee, and horticulture in the Agri-connect program.. She brings a wealth of experience in overseeing agricultural operations, contributing significantly to operational efficiency and productivity. Happymark Pangani, an Agriculture Officer at Mufindi District Council, directly influences agricultural practices at the district level, impacting local farming communities and practices. Others were: Revelian Ngaiza – Senior Economist, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries and Primitiva Andrea Mboyerwa – PhD Researcher and Assistant Lecturer, Sokoine University of Agriculture – College of Agriculture, Department of Soil Sciences She brings a wealth of experience in overseeing agricultural operations, contributing significantly to operational efficiency and productivity. Happymark Pangani, an Agriculture Officer at Mufindi District Council, directly influences agricultural practices at the district level, impacting local farming communities and practices. Others were: Revelian Ngaiza – Senior Economist, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, and Primitiva Andrea Mboyerwa – PhD Researcher and Assistant Lecturer, Sokoine University of Agriculture – College of Agriculture, Department of Soil Sciences
Each individual in this group represents a crucial aspect of agricultural development, collectively driving forward Tanzania’s agricultural sector.The graduates are poised to play a pivotal role in advancing African agriculture, reflecting a comprehensive approach to addressing agricultural challenges on the continent. Their training equips them to align national goals with regional objectives and effectively implement key agricultural programs.
AGRA President Dr. Agnes Kalibata, in her address at the graduation, highlighted the critical nature of this issue, stating, “Fifty percent of CALA graduates are focused on solving post-harvest losses.” This statement underscored the programme’s role in transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle into a thriving business.
The graduates, handpicked from a pool of over 1,000 applicants, embody the dynamic and promising future of African agriculture. Their diverse professional backgrounds, spanning government, private sector, and civil society, reflect a holistic approach to tackling the continent’s agricultural challenges. Prof. Jean Jacques Muhinda, AGRA’s Regional Head for East and Southern Africa, emphasized the graduates’ role in synchronizing their country’s agricultural priorities with regional objectives, ensuring that food system transformations are grounded in the realities of local communities.
This year’s graduation marks the second cohort to complete the CALA programme, following the first virtual ceremony in 2022. The 78 leaders, representing a cross-section of the public, private sector, and civil society, received certificates acknowledging their leadership roles in Africa’s journey towards Food Security and Sustainability. The programme’s design, tailored for leaders implementing country-level agricultural initiatives, provided the delegates with skills for effective implementation of flagship programmes and fostered cross-sector collaborative leadership.
The graduating class now joins the inaugural cohort of 80 delegates in the prestigious CALA alumni community, where they will continue their collaborative learning and development. This expanding community underscores the CALA programme’s commitment to nurturing agricultural leaders who can drive transformative change.
The CALA programme is an AGRA-led initiative, delivered in collaboration with implementing partners including the African Management Institute (AMI), CALA’s lead implementation and learning partner, and USAID’s Policy LINK. Policy LINK, a part of the global Feed the Future program, has played a crucial role in designing and rolling out the leadership programme’s coaching component, adding a unique dimension to the learning experience.
Founded in 2006, AGRA’s mission is to catalyze agricultural transformation in Africa by putting smallholder farmers at the forefront of the continent’s economy. By developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system, AGRA aims to ensure food security, lift millions out of poverty, and drive equitable growth across the continent.
African Management Institute (AMI) empowers businesses and leaders across Africa with practical tools and training. With over 35,000 individuals trained in 39 countries, AMI combines online and mobile tools with in-person workshops, fostering real-world application and growth.
Policy LINK, a cornerstone of America’s global Feed the Future initiative, led by USAID, enhances leadership capacities across various sectors, encouraging collective action for better policy systems.
Through these concerted efforts, CALA and its partners are steadfast in their commitment to shaping a robust and prosperous future for African agriculture and nutrition security.