African agricultural programme launched at House of Commons
FARM - ED: Transforming lives through improved access to agricultural education in Africa
FARM-ED is an exciting new initiative being developed by The Open University, working in partnership with the Natural Resources Institute at the University of Greenwich, RUFORUM (Uganda) and others. It was launched last night at an All Party Parliamentary Group on Agriculture and Food for Development at the House of Commons. The event was attended by over 40 people from Government, international NGOs and the agriculture sector. The audience heard how FARM-ED will capitalise on the opportunities available through online open educational resources to help farmers access the knowledge they need to enhance productivity and deliver greater benefits to rural communities.
Africa continues to face huge challenges in producing sufficient quantities of safe and nutritious food for its rapidly expanding population. Production needs to be increased sustainably so that the resource base is conserved for future generations. At the same time, agricultural activities have to generate sufficient income to engage young people and women and deliver greater benefits to rural communities. Building on the OUâ€™s successful international programmes such as HEAT and TESSA, together with the agricultural expertise and partnerships of the Natural Resources Institute, FARM-ED and its partners will support the development of a relevant, scale-able and sustainable project that responds to the education and training needs in the agricultural sector.
Chaired by George Freeman MP, the OU was represented by Becky Hanlin, Hazel Johnson and Julius Mugwagwa from Development Policy and Practice, and Lesley-Anne Long from the International Development Office. Included in the presentations was a video link Uganda with Dr Nodumo Dhalamini from RUFORM talking about why now is the right time for a new African OER initiative on agriculture.
The vision of FARM-ED is to work with partners to create an innovative programme that will benefit African farmers. Together, the partners will help build capacity in a wide range of African training institutions to ensure farmers receive the latest, most relevant knowledge necessary to help them add value to their business.
Image credit: Ruth Leavett