Employment of agricultural graduates: Who are we training for?

By Sidi Sanyang, Samba Ly, Stella Ennis, Lamin Jobe, Lassine Diarra, Pierre Bantaba

Despite the active involvement of the civil society organizations such as agribusiness and farmers’ organizations in the agriculture job market in the last 10 years, the public sector remain the major employer of agricultural graduates. This paper traces the employment of agricultural graduates over the last decade in Mali, Republic of Congo, Ghana and Gambia, as well as competencies and skills offered by agricultural training institutions. The public sector employed 94% of agricultural graduates in Mali, 84% in Gambia, and 55% in Ghana. The second largest employer was the NGOs, accounting for 4% in Mali, 7% in Gambia and 14% in Ghana. The agribusiness sector employed 1.2% in Mali, 7% in Gambia, and 12% in Ghana. It was only in Ghana that farmer organizations were reported to employ 4% of agricultural graduates. In Mali, Ghana and Gambia, employers reported 4% – 14% of the agricultural graduates they hired were women. Some of the key competence required by these employers includes agricultural engineering and farm machinery; agricultural economics with emphasis on farm management; innovation systems and value chains; and communication including report writing and ICT skills. Further, farmers’ organizations look for agricultural graduates with good interpersonal skills; exposure to participatory technology development and dissemination; and appreciation of socio-cultural contexts.

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