The idea of developing the Technical Training & Research Sector has been held by SACDEP for many years. As the organization and specific individuals continued to implement a diversity of projects, the component of sustainability continued to get clearer. At the same time however, there were many initiatives that remained seasonal, annual or biennial. Each time such periods came to a close, the need to establish the Sector became heavier by the day.
Of importance to note is that, today, families, villages or even regional projects begin and collapse in a few years. Individual agricultural initiatives by farmers may also not be fully long-term. Small holders will remain carrying out the same strategies even when similar efforts did not offer yields in the previous season. Agricultural traders will fail to sustain their supply due to inadequate production.
So, even with the best of policies, at least on paper, rural poverty where agriculture is the mainstay continue to escalate. Clearly, Sustainable Agriculture remains one of the approaches where sustainability is the practical kingpin in all activities planned and initiated.
In 2006, SACDEP personnel and related external professionals had gathered adequate technical reasoning. With successful projects concluded, it was time to assist others with the knowledge and skills gathered with regards to Sustainable Agriculture.
This involved developing an all-encompassing Sustainable Agriculture Manual for East Africa. This Manual forms the basis for all Technical Training and Research activities within the Organization. There has also been a felt need to develop a Curriculum for training Higher Diploma students on the subject of SA; the Manual forming the basis of all Curriculum content. Both the Manual and the Curricula play a major role at the School of Sustainable Agriculture for East Africa (Click for more details).
Based on its achievements on the farm, the organization has established that more would be achieved if a bigger number of technically qualified practitioners were available. Unfortunately, most institutions are still in the “mistaken” belief that industrial/chemical “modern” agriculture is the only way to development. This is the scenario despite the increasing millions going hungry while thousands of graduates continue to be ‘churned out’ of institutions of agricultural learning annually.
The fact that the numbers of professionals with clear understanding in this approach is small, poses a big challenge. The area that suffers most is that of Research, Documentation, Training and Extension. This situation therefore, calls for the establishment of a formal specialized sustainable agriculture training institute and with it, the supporting sector-Technical Training & Research.
TTR sector is mandated with the following:
TTR also acts as the Consultancy Arm of the Organization. Here tasks and related Research is undertaken in collaboration with other institutions.