The agricultural sector in Tanzania accounts for 27 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 25 percent of foreign currency. The industry also provides 60 percent of raw materials to industries.
The same sector has employed over 70 percent of the working population. Despite its considerable size, the industry is yet to run at full throttle to its development.
In the process to strengthen the sector, the leading beer maker, Serengeti Breweries Limited (SBL), launched the Kilimo Viwanda Scholarship program in 2019 to create a bright future for college students.
The program aims to help underprivileged students study agriculture in colleges such as Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture in Bagamoyo, Kilacha Agriculture Institute in Moshi, Igabiro Institute of Agriculture in Bukoba and St. Maria Goretti Agriculture Training Institute Iringa. To date, over 70 students have benefited from the program.
The beer maker has targeted to sponsor a hundred students in the new scholarship window for 2021-2022. Apart from the financial support, students will gain practical experience through activities such as brewery visits, field attachments to the farms, mentorship, entrepreneurship training and other forms of exposure.
Emmanuel Raymond Mboge, a 2nd-year student in general agriculture from St. Maria Goretti College, is one of the program’s beneficiaries.
Mboge shares his journey on how his experience has been. ‘Before the scholarship, I stayed at home with my family because I had no fees to start my certificate education’. Mboge adds that he became determined to make himself a better future and his family proud after being selected for the scholarship.
Mboge said, ‘I am the only one in my family of four children (including my parents) that have reached this level of education. I am very motivated to ensure that I share my success with everyone, especially my family.
Mboge’s parents live as small farmers at Mvomero in Morogoro, where they grow pardy.
He envisions helping them become better commercial farmers after his college education. Mboge admits how thankful he is for SBL to help him study for his diploma after completing his college certificate. He adds, ‘it is a blessing to study for another year (3 years in a row), I have a huge debt to pay, and I will do my best.
He continues, ‘success doesn’t come easy, especially if your choices are limited; therefore, you have to use every opportunity life carefully throws at you. With the scholarship, Mboge’s education has become guaranteed since it covers all his college fees during his time at the college.
After he graduates, Mboge envisions helping farmers with information on how to improve their farm yields, such as improving crop yield, infrastructure, and market intelligence.
However, the Kilimo Viwanda scholarship program aims to help students become professional farm extension officers and even joining SBL’s vast network of over 400 local farmers in eight regions, such as Mwanza, Mara, Shinyanga, Arusha, Manyara, Moshi, Singida and Iringa, where SBL sources 70 percent equivalent to 17,000 tons of cereals essential for beer production, such as maize, sorghum, and barley.
In exchange, the company provides farmers with free seeds, field technical services and linking them to financial institutions to access credit facilities.
Moreover, the program aims to strengthen the agriculture value chain by transforming from subsistence to commercial farming.
To apply for the scholarship, SBL urges students to submit their applications to the respective colleges: Kaole Wazazi College of Agriculture in Bagamoyo, Kilacha Agriculture Institute in Moshi, Igabiro Institute of Agriculture in Bukoba and St. Maria Goretti Agriculture Training Institute Iringa.