How CISTI project empowers agricultural sector

AS you start reading this article, you must have eaten or thinking of eating something without taking into consideration of where that food must have come from.

In practice, a farmer somewhere must have toiled to put your food on the table and in the chain, Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) must have played a role on training/building capacity of that peasant on the best farming methods to use.

Pitching a tent at Uyole Agricultural Training College in Mbeya Region, where there is a significant leap forward in the provision of agricultural education to students, who would be ‘skilled future farmers’, SAT’s Curriculum Implementation Support for Training Institutes (CISTI) in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), especially the Division of Training, Extension Services and Research (DTER), supervises, oversees, advises, and controls the quality of curriculum implementation in the Ministry of Agriculture Training Institutes (MATI).

In the country whose vast land favours agricultural development, it is no doubt that such strategy is equally important for the provision of adequate food (read food security) and guaranteeing nutrition security to the Tanzania population.

Shedding light on how CISTI works at SAT, the institution’s Project Manager, Kishindye Salum noted that the long-term impact goal of the scheme is to have competent technical personnel, who work effectively to meet the demand of Tanzania’s agriculture sector, increase climate resilience and strengthen the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, thus alleviating poverty and food insecurity for sustainable development.

At the outcome level, the project’s purpose is to support public and private training institutions to produce graduates who are in line with the need of the country through successfully integrating and implementing organic agriculture, gender, environmental management, cooperatives, and communication skills through the new training curriculum for agriculture on certificate and diploma levels.

He added: “We also work with local partners, governmental and nongovernmental programs to teach sustainable practices that minimise harm to the environment and build soil fertility and as well focuses on building crop and livestock productivity and market profitability.

“Here, volunteers can also get involved with community outreach work, where they will be provided with ‘home to home’ education  and in turn educate their families on how to make the most of small farming plots and also on cleaning community areas, establishing collection banks for rubbish and recycling.

At the UYOLE, the institution’s Principal, Sebastian Mosha said their centre has been receiving SAT’s support benefits on capacity building, curriculum review, infrastructures like greenhouses building and horticultural practices among others.

His list including practical courses on irrigation methods, e-learning including relevant books’ acquisitions and compendiums lead them to have uniformity with other institutions countrywide.

He also said that SAT has designed for them teaching modules for entrepreneurship, communication skills, community and gender, which in turn has over the years made them, maintain high standard academic excellence and attracted both local foreign students to join them.

He added: “The training offered is mainly of practical oriented nature with the primary focus of providing agricultural training at the certificate and diploma levels, the college has become a beacon of excellence in the field.”

Historical background

The history of MATI Uyole dates back to 1968 when the Tanzania government decided to establish an Agriculture Training and Research joint project with the government of Nordic countries and an agreement was reached in 1970s, thereafter the construction works began. Training activities commenced in January 1975 and the first intake of in-service students was a three-month course in Agromechanisation.

The first diploma and certificate students were enrolled in July 1975. In March 1976 the project became a semi-autonomous parastatal organisation known as Uyole Agricultural Centre. The later was reconverted to a government institution- called MARTI Uyole in 1993.

Classrooms and Laboratories

With support from SAT through the CISTI project, there has been provision of equipment in the classrooms and lecture theatre. These include audio-visuals gargets to provide all teaching aid in the video facilities and e-learning process.


With support from SAT-the institute’s library has the largest collection of agricultural information in the Southern Highlands regions of Tanzania. These come in form of books, conference proceedings, theses, dissertations, magazines, and local newspapers. The library has a CD – ROM facility, which can access a number of tropical agricultural bibliographic databases. The collection is further supplemented by borrowing through the Inter-Libretto loan service.

Training Farm

This is perhaps the most important teaching-cum training labours for imparting practical skills. Here, our students-turning to be farmers are practically being trained to grow various crops and manage livestock such dairy cattle, pigs, sheep, goats, rabbits and poultry.


In addition to the physical facilities, the college has embraced e-learning with support from SAT, which includes the provision of computers, cameras, and other relevant e-learning tools. The project also involves the compilation of curricula and course materials to ensure uniformity with other institutions countrywide.

Here, e-learning has been instrumental in broadening the students’ skill and sets online interviews in facilitating opportunities for them to acquire.

For instance, the infrastructure developed through the SAT project, especially during the challenging times of COVID-19 enabled the institution to conduct online interviews with relevant stakeholders. This limited physical contract, but maintained educational activities as required.

At the core of their success lies, Mr Mosha further said that their collaboration with the SAT has midwifed the creation of the Centre of Information and Computer Technology (CICT) initiative and bringing about a countless of transformative changes at the institution.

Offering two main courses, agriculture and crop production, the college has been actively participating in various programmes to enhance the learning experience for its students so that they also become ambassadors to grassroots’ farmers in the countryside.Elaborating, he noted that the initiative has greatly improved capacity building of their instructors to stay focused, especially with changes coming as a result of climate change.

Mr Mosha further said: “Our entry into NACTVET programs necessitated Competence Based Education and Training (CBET) for all our instructors. And with the assistance of CISTI, we successfully provided training to every instructor and ensuring they meet the required standards.”

A case study the Principal cited the establishment of a nursery for seeds, a greenhouse equipped with a drip irrigation system, and an irrigation infrastructure facilitating both greenhouse and open-field cultivation of vegetables and fruits, built to them at the institution, where both the instructors and students interact practical during studies.

Likewise Mr Mosha said: “We have been utilising this infrastructure for horticulture training for our students, giving them practical exposure to modern farming techniques.”

On Curriculum

The SAT project has been a catalyst for positive change, driving the college towards a future where agricultural education is both progressive and accessible and college is now in the process of reviewing its agricultural production curriculum.

The Vice Principal of Administration, Finance, and Planning Japhet Mwachapite, shed light on the economic challenges faced by the college and how SAT has alleviated some of these burdens.

“Through the SAT project, we have received crucial infrastructure support, significantly boosting our production capacity, especially in the cultivation of vegetables and fruits,” he says.

The SAT project has not only improved the college’s internal operations but has also been instrumental in raising its profile.

Freddy Muhabuka, another key figure in the college’s administration, commends the SAT project for its impact on entrepreneurial education.

Muhabuka said,”the CICT project has enabled us to empower our youth with entrepreneurial skills. We collaborated to provide these essential skills to all our college students, ensuring they understand how to initiate projects that yield profits.”

Beyond entrepreneurial education, Muhabuka also acknowledges the importance of gender awareness programs facilitated by the project.

“We have established gender clubs and the college actively supports gender-related initiatives as per government guidelines,” he remarks.

The initiatives undertaken have not only improved the quality of education but have also contributed to the overall development of students, educators, and the institution as a whole

One of the beneficiaries at the institution, Joseph Mkala, praised SAT for the system of loading exams and online studies that is relieving the country and other institutions from taking students to Isreal for 8 months to physically study the courses.

He added: “In the collaboration SAT has enabled us to acquire practical training and essential infrastructure, where in the modern era; agriculture involves techniques like greenhouse farming. This has also helped in empowering us to engage in distance learning, enhancing our efficiency as educators.

“We equally thank SAT for introducing gender studies and clubs which empower women to equally engage in agriculture and this has seen enrolment rise from 370 to 470 in the last academic year intake.”

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