21.10.2020 | Network AfricaDr. Bernd Müller
- As part of the kick-off event for the Training Pact with Africa in May 2019, Federal Minister Dr. Gerd Müller announced his wish of a 'Technology and Transfer Pact' (TAP) - a collaboration between the ministry and the 'HSWT International School'. The fields of action cover the entire value chain, from innovative methods of cultivation and locally adapted seeds, to adapted mechanization, linking training and further education with innovations, all the way through to improved post-harvest protection, storage and subsequent processing on site. On August 18th, 2020, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences (HSWT), together with the Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer internationale Zusammenarbeit (German agency for international cooperation, GIZ) GmbH and the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), officially announced the launch of the Technology and Transfer Pact with Africa. It complements the Training Pact with Africa and aims to close the gap between innovation and its implementation in practice.
- Expansion of Cooperation
- Mountain of the Moon University (MomU), Uganda: The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Mountain of the Moon University, Fort Portal (Uganda) was signed with support of GAUFF Engineering GmbH & Co. KG. This cooperation was strengthened with a visit of Prof. Dr. Ralf Schlauderer and Dr. Kateryna Tuzhyk from HSWT in February 2020 (see picture 1).
- University of Kara, University of Lomé, Togo: In March 2020, HSWT contacted two universities in Togo, the University of Lomé and the University of Kara, in order to build up new cooperations.
- South Eastern University of Kenya (SEKU): As a result of the Tropentag 2020, SEKU is interested to participate in the HSWT IMA course. Details were discussed via Zoom meeting with Dr. Julius K. Kilungo, Dean/School of Agriculture & Veterinary Sciences. The MoU is in process of signing.
- Study the IMA – Master’s programme on Triesdorf campus: COVID 19 pandemic across the world also affected placements of the IMA course. It was not possible to invite students from our African partner universities in Ethiopia and Kenya for the Master’s Study programme 'International Agricultural Management' (IMA) in April as foreseen. However, since the travel restrictions have somewhat loosened, we were able to invite two participants from Uganda and one participant from Kenya, who arrived in Germany in July for their internship, before starting their studies at our University in November (see picture 2). Also in November, two other students from Kenya will join the IMA study in Triesdorf. Our four candidates from Ethiopia have started their German courses online and are actively taking part in it (see picture 3). They will hopefully be able to come to Germany for their internship next spring.
- Transfer of the IMA Master’s programme to the Partner Universities: The process of digitalization of education is an important topic in the present conditions. The IMA team started with having the study resources translated into English and prepared videos for online training for lecturers from African partner universities. In November a seminar about compulsory subjects for the relevant African lecturers will be given online.
- Postgraduate Training Course 'Food Chains in Agriculture': Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, our 25 selected Master graduates (12 women and 13 men from 11 African countries) started the course online from home. From 3rd of May 2020 to 5th of August 2020, the course was organized via online teaching methods (see picture 4). In the course 21 experienced lecturers taught the participants the theoretical foundations of value chains, project management, empirical social research, agricultural economics and – policy. Furthermore, participants gained insights into topics like renewable energy, plant production, animal safety and grain storage. With most of the travel restrictions still being in place, the presence phase of 4-6 weeks in Germany is planned to take place next year in spring.
- Training Influencers: Over the past three years, eleven agricultural professionals participated in a five-month postgraduate training in the Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences. The training promotes innovative thinking in food chains in agriculture. The professionals are expected to promote sustainable agriculture in the framework of the Green Innovation Centre project – Ethiopia. In 2020, the Corona pandemic has forced the courses to be conducted online. The students participated in the virtual sessions which was followed by a meeting with BMZ, industrial representatives and GIZ. They discuss their study projects, which will be prepared by the end of their training. Meet Bedilu, Mulubrhan and Yitna. They are the participants of the postgraduate training on ‘Food Chains in Agriculture’ 2019 (see picture 5). The article 'Training influencers' was originally published in the Green Innovation newsletter (issue no. 4, August 2020) of the Green Innovation Centres Ethiopia and kindly provided to us by them. If you are interested in the newsletter and would like to learn more, you can subscribe to it with this attached link.
- Postgraduate Alumni Storytelling: Network Africa aims to help develop a society of knowledge in African countries, as the core facet of a stable and functioning society and as the basis for a successful business location. This should help pave the way to creating new jobs, supporting small-scale farming operations in their efforts to sustainably increasing production and income, and shifting value creation to rural areas of Africa. For this reason, we are happy to get videos from the alumni of the postgraduate training course where they share their achievements, ideas and successes of their study project realizations in their home country. Around 25 alumni have shared their stories via videos (see picture 6). Follow us also on Facebook: Africa-Triesdorf Alumni
- First Virtual Meeting of the Bavarian-Ethiopian Alliance for Applied Life Sciences: On August 19th, 2020, the launch event of the 'Bavarian-Ethiopian Alliance for Applied Life Sciences' took place virtually via Zoom (see picture 7). The goal of the Bavarian-Ethiopian Alliance for Applied Life Sciences is the formation of a network between Bavarian and Ethiopian partners from academia, industry and the public sector in the field of practical training in the life sciences. The alliance is organised by Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences and part of the 'Bayerisches Afrikapaket', a funding program by the Bavarian government. Due to the current corona crisis, the alliance could unfortunately not begin with a personal meeting of all participants, as was originally planned. However, thanks to modern communication technology, the meeting was nonetheless a great success. More than 20 participants attended the online meeting: From the Ethiopian side, presidents, vice presidents as well as further representatives from Addis Ababa University, Debre Markos University, Haramaya University, Hawassa University as well as ATTC Harar took part. From the Bavarian side, the president, vice president as well as professors in the fields of agriculture, food technology and horticulture of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences attended the meeting. Officals from the Bavarian Office for Africa in Addis Ababa as well as the Bavarian Ministry for Agriculture, among others, represented the Bavarian public sector. The participants discussed the concept of applied teaching, benefits and challenges of practical training as well as potentials for cooperation between Bavaria and Ethiopia. All participants were supportive of a mutually beneficial cooperation and expressed their wish for further common activities. As a next step, Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences will host further virtual workshops to exchange ideas and develop concepts regarding practical training in different subject areas.
- Tropentag 2020: In September 2020, Professor Dr. Ralf Schlauderer, together with Dr. Bernd Mueller, Dr. Kateryna Tuzhyk and the participants of our postgraduate training courses 2018 to 2020 actively took part in the Tropentag online conference 2020, which was held under the motto 'Food and Nutrition Security and its Resilience to Global Crises'. It is one of the most important conferences in the field of tropical agricultural research in Central Europe. Prof. Dr. Ralf Schlauderer started the conference with a pre-conference workshop 'Combining Practice and Higher Agricultural Education – Challenges and Chances'. In the following days, Dr. Bernd Mueller, coordinator of the 'Training Pact with Africa', chaired one oral presentation and one poster session on the topic: 'Practice-oriented further education and support for the transfer of business ideas in the Food Value Chains in Africa'. In them, participants of our postgraduate training courses 2018 to 2020 had the chance to present their study projects. The project idea of George Opare Asare, alumnus of HSWT postgraduate training course 'Food Chains in Agriculture' 2019, was awarded as one of the five best poster contributions at the international 'Tropentag' conference. In his home country Ghana, he wants to support women in setting up small businesses and producing and distributing food products made from cashew apples. You can find all proceedings of the Tropentag here.
- Exposure Seminar on Basics of Food Processing and Technology: From the 28th of September until the 2nd of October 2020 the online seminar 'Basics of food processing and technology' took place (see picture 8). Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the participants were not able to visit German companies and institutions in person, but instead the seminar took place online. Sixteen selected African experts from the countries Benin, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia as well as four experts from India participated in the seminar. The various workshops were conducted by more than ten German experts from different companies and institutions as well as professors of Weihenstephan-Triesdorf University of Applied Sciences. At the beginning of the seminar the theoretical foundation of the field of food processing and technology such as the food value chain concept and its relevance for the rural development were provided. The theory was supplemented by practical examples of food processing in enterprises like the dairy cooperative Naturkäserei TegernseerLand e.G. or the oil mill Garting. In order to minimize postharvest losses, course participants gained insights in different storage techniques as well as food quality management. As stable energy supply often is a problem especially in rural areas of participants home countries, two enterprises presented their approach of integrating solar energy in the food processing system. Public control institutions and legal aspects of food safety in the European Union and certifications for quality improvement in food production and processing were also presented. During the course, the participants interactively developed ideas for integrating the knowledge on food processing and technology into their home companies and institutions. A follow-up meeting in November will support and connect the participants regarding the implementation of their ideas.
- Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection: As another result of the Tropentag conference 2020, Prof. Ralf Schlauderer recently joined the Editorial Board as Associate Editor of the Journal of Plant Diseases and Protection, a high ranking international scientific journal of the 'Deutsche Phytomedizinische Gesellschaft' (DPG) – the German Society of Plant Protection and Plant Health (for more information please visit this link). If you are interested in submitting papers in the journal and want to know more about the submission and peer review process of articles, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Schlauderer.