Agro Business, Marketing and Business Planning should be taught together with Agriculture in Universities and not as separate subjects, says Potaisa Hombunaka, Manager of Coffee Industry Corporations’ Productive Partnerships in Agriculture Project (CIC-PPAP).
Mr Hombunaka has over 30 years’ experience in the agriculture sector, mostly in the coffee industry but also in rubber, cocoa, horticulture and livestock developments.
He said while the government is focusing on developing agriculture sector, universities and colleges offering agriculture training have a responsibility to play their part proactively to realize this important government policy.
“The landscape for agriculture practice is no longer the same, hence training institutions must restructure course offerings.
“Classroom learning must be relevant to the changes taking place outside in the real world.”
Mr Hombunaka’s proposal follows recent discussions on extension services at the University of Goroka on September 11-12, 2017. The theme of the international agriculture forum was ‘Addressing Farmer Needs Now and into the Future’.
“Extension services in agriculture must be market driven. This is where Agro Business & Marketing and Agriculture are not separate subjects.
“Graduates must understand and appreciate this to become innovative and creative with focus on helping farmers to find and establish market linkages to sell their produce.
“The missing link in extension service is marketing knowledge.”
Mr Hombunaka explains training in classrooms for tomorrow’s experts and also for farmers in the field continue to emphasize production aspects of agriculture for years which farmers are already aware.
“This is where training or courses must encourage innovation and creativity for graduates not to advise or train farmers the conventional way.”
PPAP coffee manager Mr Potaisa Hombunaka