SERENGETI Breweries Limited (SBL) has expressed commitment to create productive agriculture professionals through Kilimo Viwanda scholarship programme so that they can contribute to the transformation and modernisation of the whole agriculture value chain.
“With Kilimo Viwanda scholarship programme, SBL is staying ahead to equip students with the necessary skills in order to become competent workforce who can compete in the economy,” said SBL Managing Director, Mark Ocitti.
Mr Ocitti made the remarks recently at Silverlands farm in Ifunda, Iringa while announcing a group of 17 students from St Maria Goretti Agriculture Training Institute in Iringa who will benefit from SBL scholarship programme.
At the plantation which is part of SBL’s network of 400 farmers, the SBL Managing Director said the significance of the scholarship programme focuses at expanding student’s education on agriculture from theory to practice in the farm where maize, barley and other products are cultivated.
The scholarship programme is also supporting government efforts aimed at revamping the education system to fit in the 21st century through practical learning that will improve students’ chances for employment.
Apart from the financial support, SBL also provides the students with opportunities to learn other life skills and gain practical experience through activities such as brewery visits, field attachments to the farms, mentorship, entrepreneurship training and other forms of exposure. SBL has a vast network of over 400 local farmers in eight regions across the country.
It sources farm outputs such as maize, sorghum and barley for beer production. In return, the company provides farmers with free seeds, field technical services and linking them to financial institutions to access credit facilities.
Last year, SBL sourced 17,000 metric tons of these grains locally, equivalent to 70 per cent of SBL’s annual total raw materials requirement. The company focuses on increasing the sourcing of raw materials from local farmers to 85 per cent by 2025.
The scholarship programme benefits other three agricultural colleges like Kilacha (Moshi), Igabiro (Bukoba) and Kaole (Bagamoyo).
Since 2019, over 70 students have benefited from the programme. The programme acts like a fulcrum to vocational training where students can manifest their talents and knowledge.