The F’SAGRI opens its doors [fr]
The French South African Institute in Agriculture (F’SAGRI), a research and training centre in agriculture, started its activities at University of Fort Hare’s (UFH) Alice campus on 4 August 2015.
F’SAGRI is a training and research programme in agriculture, initiated by the South African and French governments to expand on the success of F’SATI. It aims to contribute to addressing food security and rural development issues in South Africa, by offering high level degrees in food science and processing, as well as in agribusiness.
Strong links between universities, research institutes and agribusiness companies of both countries will be provided to fulfill the needs of the sector. Capacity building, student and staff mobility, research innovation and industrial outcomes are key objectives of the F’SAGRI.
The centre started its activities at University of Fort Hare (UFH) Alice campus (Eastern Cape province), where courses will focus on the agri-food processing thematic.
The first training module, entitled Drying of Food and agricultural products, was organized from 4 to 6 August 2015 and was attended by 18 students (Bachelor, Master, PhD) from horticulture, crop science and animal science curricula.
Courses and group works were carried out by Professor Antoine Collignan, a French researcher from Montpellier SupAgro on long-term mission at Stellenbosch University. This specialist of food processing and sustainable food production cosupervised the second day of practical lessons, together with Dr Astereda Mnkeni, director of the Agripark at UFH.
Classes were held in excellent conditions, thanks to logistic support from the F’SAGRI team at UFH, led by Prof. Voster Muchenge, financial support from the French Embassy in Pretoria and students’ involvement. The latter unanimously appreciated the high quality of the classes, particularly the computational part (“A bit difficult…but very concrete”) as well as the practical works.
The French Embassy in Pretoria congratulates all the stakeholders and students involved in the project, and hopes that future classes will have a similar atmosphere!
Further information on F’SAGRI:
F’SAGRI was conceived from the South African Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DAFF) common desire to enhance training and research in agriculture in previously disadvantaged universities. On the French side, the Ministry of Agriculture is driving the project alongside the French Embassy in Pretoria, drawing upon expertise of the network of French higher education and research institutions in agriculture (Montpellier SupAgro, Cirad, INRA…).
F’SAGRI is of great political importance in addressing key issues of the South African government: food security, capacity building in previously disadvantaged HEIs, development of a more innovative economy and strengthening of the role of previously underprivileged populations in the agricultural sector.
Technical experts from French ministries of Agriculture and Foreign Affairs will be posted at UFH to complement the operational teams and the periodic missions of researchers from Montpellier SupAgro or Cirad. The cluster of international expertise will be the basis to build research and postgraduate training, as well as sustainable partnerships, notably with industries.