BCA transformation should come with value (Botswana Daily News)

| September 13, 2015

Botswana College of Agriculture (BCA) transformation into Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resource Management (BUAN) has to have value addition effect on the economy.

Speaking at the BUAN internal stakeholder workshop held in Gaborone on Friday ( September 11), permanent secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Micus Chimbombi said for the BCA to justify its transformation to society it should produce graduates who would be of benefit to the nation.

We need to be able to produce products who would be of significance to the economy and the communities they serve, and for this to transpire we need to work to ensure that BUAN becomes a viable project, we need to apply ourselves to come up with a product we can be proud of, a university of good standing, Dr Chimbombi said.

Dr Chimbombi, who is also BCA council chairman, said he was proud that the transformation would take place under his tenure, and thus urged those involved in the project to work hard to create a lasting legacy.

BCA acting principal, Dr Mataba Tapela, said the transformation of the college into a university, which had been deliberated upon for years, took place in July 17 this year, and was awaiting the president to appendage his signature to the bill, making it a law.

Thereafter it will only take a year for the transformation to be in full effect. We are already working on the restructuring of BCA, with a new organisational structure, including increasing faculties from one to five. We have to populate the new structure and we have submitted a budget to the government for funding, Dr Tapela said.

Faculties of Basic Sciences, Natural Resources, Animal Science and Veterinary Science and Rural Economy would be added to the current, lone Agriculture faculty and an expansion of facilities currently used is planned.

The BCA leadership is set to go on benchmarking trips to universities in North America, Europe and Australia, and experts from the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania, Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Stellenbosch University.

Mr Keamogetse Molebatsi, the deputy director general in the National Strategy Office in the Office of the President, said it was important for stakeholders to deduce what value-addition the economy could derive from the transformation. Mr Molebatsi said Botswana’s diversification effort was based on two main strategic pillars, diversification and sustainable growth.

The interlink between Botswana’s economy, environment and people’s lives requires a development approach that brings on board human capital development and natural resource management as a pathway to prosperity and sustainable growth, he said.

Again, he said agriculture in Botswana was dominated by traditional subsistence farming, with only 10 per cent of agricultural land being in the hands of commercial farmers who also owned only 15 per cent of cattle.

He added that Botswana still lagged behind in having a strong commercial agricultural sector, and the new university has to work on improving this condition

The role of a tertiary institution is to generate and attract talent, provide research innovation, provide joint university-business activities, generate new knowledge and localise global knowledge, skills development and the circulation of ideas and experiences, he said.

Mr Molebatsi said BUAN personnel recruitment strategy would be crucial in how effective the institution managed to become in its formative years.

Category: Governance

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