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Emmanuel Reuben Mbiha, Associate Professor in Economics, School of Agricultural and Business Studies (SAEBS) at the Sokoine University of Agriculture; in collaboration with Andrew Coulson and Antony Ellman successfully authored a book titled: “Increasing Production from the Land: A Source Book on Agriculture for Teachers and Students in East Africa”.

The Sokoine National Agricultural Library (SNAL) was privileged to receive copies of the book as a donation from Prof. Mbiha and the Mkuki and Nyota Publishers Limited. The books have been added to SNAL’s collection and will soon be accessible through the Library catalogue.

Increasing Production from the Land cover preview  Book cover preview

The summary of the book is as follows:

“African agriculture faces major challenges with growing population pressure and the impact of climate change. Until now food production overall has broadly kept pace with demand. To maintain this impressive achievement, production from the land needs to be intensified, soil fertility must be enhanced, forests and water resources must be conserved, and land use practices must be sustainable over the long term. This book shows what needs to be done, and points to how best to achieve this.

The book starts with a brief guide to what plants and animals need to grow well, how farmers currently use the land, and the research that is being conducted on new agricultural technologies. A comparison is made of productivity on small and large farms, which demonstrates that, contrary to some suggestions, small farmers, properly serviced, can be as productive or even more productive than larger farms. Subsequent chapters discuss issues of land tenure, pastoralism, training, the importance of women farmers, access to finance, markets, value chains, and contract farming as a partnership between small-scale producers, processors and traders in agricultural products.

The final section of the book discusses whether a new “green revolution” is feasible or desirable for Africa. The potential risks and benefits of dependence on purchased agrochemicals, genetically modified varieties, and multinational seed and chemical companies are examined. A series of twelve broad policy proposals for achieving a sustainable agriculture sector is presented for consideration. Fifteen case studies illustrate the issues discussed in the book. Most of the examples are from East Africa, particularly Tanzania, but the principles addressed are relevant across the African continent. Each chapter of the book includes references and suggestions for further reading, most of them freely available to anyone with internet access. A set of essay questions exploring the issues covered in each chapter is included, to provide practical help for students of agriculture and their teachers”.

Congratulations Prof. Mbiha for the great achievement.

ITOCAThe Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) and Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations together with the Pan African Farmers’ Organisation (PAFO) are pleased to call for applications for a new online course “Farm Data Management, Sharing and Services for Agriculture Development”.

There is an exponential growth in data accompanying the digitalisation of agriculture through the proliferation of mobile technology, remote sensing technologies and distributed computing capabilities among others. The effective management of this data will open up new opportunities to better the lives and livelihoods of smallholder farmers by lowering cost and reducing information asymmetries.

This online course  will support the work of professionals involved in using or managing data services for the benefit of farmers and farmers organizations. These professionals work in a wide range of organizations, including international organizations, donor agencies, multilaterals, NGOs, academic and research institutions, universities, national or local governments.

The main target audience groups include:

  • Those who are involved in farmers’ organisations as administrators or staff i.e. those collecting farmer data and managing the data; and
  • Development practitioners and technology providers, who, in addition,  assist farmers’ organisation setting up farmer profiling and creating data services.

The course creates awareness of data on and for farmers as well as the products and services that have become a growth area, driving expectations and investments in ICT4ag including e-extension, precision agriculture and digital financial services. The course furthermore highlights shared data principles, including FAIR and open data conceptual frameworks, while also emphasizing the legal and responsible ethical considerations for data rights and protections.

By the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the value of data, the different types and sources of data and identify the type of services that data enables in agriculture.
  • Understand how data is used and generated in the value chain
  • Understand the challenges and risks that smallholders face when sharing data
  • Understand the strategies related to farmer profiling
  • Understand how and where to find open data
  • Apply data analysis and visualisation techniques
  • Understand the legal and policy aspects when dealing with farmers’ data sharing
  • Understand the basics of  licencing, copyright and database rights

How to Apply?

The course is free of charge and is offered in  4-week period in English. It will take place twice in two editions, one starts in October and second starts in November before the end of the year. The date of preference for the applications can be indicated is requested on the Registration Form:

    First edition:  14 October to 10 November 2019
    Second edition: 18 November to 15 December 2019

To apply for the courses, please complete this Registration Form by 29 September 2019. Applicants will be informed about application results by 3 October 2019.

Certificate of Attendance will be provided for those who take the End of Course Exam and pass it. Certificates can only be provided electronically.

For further information got to http://aims.fao.org/activity/blog/call-applications-online-course-farm-data-management-sharing-and-services-agriculture OR please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..