Its been one of those courses that I spent a while studying and applying my learnings to Agriculture. It was the Pennsylvania State University, U.S.A course on Creativity, Innovation and Change which I took via Coursera. Having completed several courses via Coursera, without actually getting a statement of accomplishment. I signed up for the course and made sure I took the classes seriously by viewing the videos and completing the exercises which was a prerequisite for getting the statement of accomplishment.
However, the main reason I signed up for the course was not just about getting the certificate, but was to improve my knowledge of creativity and innovation as well as apply my learnings to Agriculture and Agribusiness. After about 8 weeks of studying, I was able to learn a lot that will assist me in starting up Innovative Agribusinesses.
I learnt the following:
▪ Creativity identity, idea generation, idea evaluation.
▪ Building a creative team, inspiration and research.
▪ Creativity metrics, experimental planning and prototyping.
For Africa to be on the mark of improving food security, there is a continuous need for applying creativity and innovation to Agriculture and Agribusiness. As far as I know, agriculture and agribusiness are not in any way as popular as entertainment is in Africa. Most governments in Africa prefer spending millions of dollars importing Agricultural products rather than encourage small holders by improving their productivity by providing them with access to credits and long term low interest loans, the right quality farm inputs, create access to markets and buy any excess farm produce from the farmers to reduce post-harvest losses associated with lack of proper storage facilities.
The course changed my view of Agriculture from an unpopular and uncreative profession to a uniquely creative and innovative profession capable of lifting millions out of poverty when managed properly, I learnt that all professions or career paths are creative but in different ways. I now view Agriculture and Agribusiness ventures as the application of innovative processes to produce food for man’s consumption and/or for industrial use. With the increasing populations of farmers over 60 years, there is a need to innovate agriculture so that the youth can take it up as a business. For Agriculture to attract the right youth population in Africa, there is a strong need to encourage youth who are into innovative agriculture.
During the ICT4Ag conference organized by the Technical Center for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), Youths across Africa where engaged in an Agricultural Hackathon competition where they created ICT Applications that will assist the small holders in Africa and the best projects were provided with seed funds, mentorship and trainings as well as other prices. This is what I call support and the government and private sector should think towards this line. So, the next time you see a small holder farmer don’t see her as that jobless uncreative person, see her as that woman who uses innovative and creative tools to achieve food security for herself , her family and her community!
Photo Credits: Penn State University, U.S.A