Agricultural Economics Department
Core of Department's Philosophy, Vision and Mission
· Core Philosophy
The Department has adopted the core philosophy of pragmatism which recognizes the instrumental value of economics for addressing the core problems of its immediate environment. As an applied science, agricultural economics draws on the tools of economics and other disciplines to tackle real human problems. We are approaching this by focusing more on the practical problems which demand immediate resolution, without losing sight of the need for contributing to the development of theories to explain contemporary and prospective problems of society. For these reasons, our main research focus has been the poverty in the immediate environment of the University, with the related issues of food insecurity, unemployment, productivity gaps, insufficient market access for smallholders and other constraints operating at both technical and institutional levels.
The Departments vision is closely aligned with the broader vision of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture as well as the University of Fort Hare. At the core of the departments vision is excellence in education through competent teaching and research. The department believes that its core business is undertaking applied research linked to the strategic priorities of the Government of South Africa as well as the Eastern Cape Province which constitutes its zone of influence or catchment area. In addition, the department recognizes the need to pursue disciplinary research to extend the envelope by contributing to the production of knowledge in the field of agricultural economics and extension and taking advantage of available opportunities, including those presented by the on-going global food and financial crisis, to test existing theories and provide students and staff with the platform for updating their knowledge and remaining relevant. There is also a clear recognition of the value of outreach activities which are framed around community service designed to bridge the gap between the University and its host communities and attack the stereotype of the University as an ivory tower. Given the foregoing, the vision has been articulated as follows:
The Department aims to become:
· a widely respected agricultural school that will build on its strong foundation and good reputation to become a major player in the sustainable agricultural development of the Eastern Cape, South Africa and indeed Africa.
· through the relevance and excellence of its education, research and outreach programmes, and the development of its students and staff, it will evolve into an institution that contributes significantly to improving the economy and the quality of life on a continent so dependent on its agriculture.
The Faculty mission is to unlock the potential of our staff, students and communities, in an environment conducive to learning, through teaching and research, and the pursuit of strategic partnerships. Just like our department vision, our mission is also closely aligned with that of the Faculty. As a department, we seek to achieve the following:
- Capitalize on our unique rural setting
- Provide high quality education at under- and postgraduate,
- Conduct development-oriented research through active staff and student involvement, etc. and,
- Implement partnership programmes pertinent to the socio-economic requirements of the agricultural and rural development sectors in the Eastern Cape Province in particular, and South Africa in general.
Last Updated (Saturday, 11 February 2012 15:23)
The students are back!
The campus is once again a beehive of activities as students scramble to register and take their places in the class rooms that are gradually filling up. The enthusiasm and high spirits that pervade the community in these early days are quite evident in this small group sitting in for the second introductory class in Agricultural Market Analysis on Friday, 10 February 2012.
AGE 312 - AGRICULTURAL MARKET ANALYSIS CLASS 2012
(PHOTO TAKEN ON 10 FEBRUARY 2012 IN ROOM B-16).
(PHOTO TAKEN ON 10 FEBRUARY 2012 IN ROOM B-16).
(PHOTO TAKEN ON 10 FEBRUARY 2012 IN ROOM B-16).
Last Updated (Sunday, 12 February 2012 10:00)
News and Events
The Executive Dean of the Faculty of Science and Agriculture announced on Monday, 15 August, 2011, the appointment of the HoD of Agricultural Economics & Extension, Dr N. Monde to the newly-created post of Deputy Dean: Teaching & Learning and Community Engagement.
Last Updated (Sunday, 12 February 2012 08:50)
UFH and Florida A&M Kick Off Community Engagement Initiative
During the first three weeks of June 2011, four MSc Students of the Department of Agricultural Economics & Extension of the University of Fort Hare were joined by seven Students from the United States of America's Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) to undertake an extensive tour of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape Provinces as part of UFH's burgeoning community engagement activities. The programme was jointly organized by the Agripark Project and the Department of Agricultural Economics & Extension under a long-standing Farmer-to-Farmer programme between the two universities. Mr M.C. Sodela, one of the MSc students from Fort Hare, has written an informative article (posted below) to describe the activities undertaken under this programme.
Last Updated (Friday, 19 August 2011 07:22)
New NUFFIC Project at UFH
The Netherlands Organization for International Cooperation in Higher Education (NUFFIC) has approved a new funding facility for the Faculty of Science and Agriculture of the University of Fort Hare under its NICHE (Netherlands Initiative for Capacity Strengthening in Higher Education) programme for the period 2010-2014. This is a collaborative project with two other South African universities, namely the University of Venda and the University of Limpopo. Professor Ajuruchukwu Obi of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension is the Project Manager at the University of Fort Hare. The details of the new project are provided below:
1. Basic data
Capacity strengthening in teaching and facilitated experiential collective innovation at three previously disadvantaged universities
1.2 Name of the requesting organization:
The Project Outline was submitted by the University of Fort Hare, University of Limpopo (lead), and University of Venda.
1.3 Name of the Dutch executing agency (the lead organization in the case of a consortium):
The International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA), leading a Dutch-South African consortium.
1.4 Country and/or region towards which efforts are directed:
1.5 Tentative starting and finishing dates of the project:
September 2010 – August 2014
1.6 Estimate of costs:
Budget requested from the NICHE: 1 599 919 Euros
Contribution from requesting organization: Staff (salaries of Lecturers and
Contribution from other sources: None
The proposed project aims to strengthen the capacity of three historically disadvantaged universities (i.e., the University of Limpopo, of Fort Hare and of Venda) to integrate teaching, action-research and community engagement, enhance inter-institutional linkages for collective innovation, and in doing so to deliver graduates with relevant knowledge and skills to support inclusive (pro-poor) economic development and transformation, and to fill in major gaps on existing labour markets.
Whereas the project is targeted primarily towards the university staff (lecturers, managers) and their students, it explicitly involves rural communities and rural development stakeholders in (facilitated) collective learning and action. The project will vigorously promote gender sensitivity and equality as well, and ensure that at least 50% of the staff and students involved in capacity strengthening programmes will be women, that 50% of the innovation challenges addressed through field work will have been identified by women and also involve a majority of women, and that effects on gender relationships within universities, and rural communities – i.e., those involved in the field projects – are always addressed and monitored. The following main activity areas are proposed:
· Action-research capacities: Training and coaching of a core group of lecturers in each university to strengthen skills in facilitating experiential learning and action-research in collaboration with rural communities, and other relevant stakeholders. This includes:
o In-country Agricultural Research for Development (ARD) learning programmes
o PhD programmes
· Curriculum development capacities: Support to a core group of lecturers/ managers within each university to advance academic programmes, through:
o Training and Training-of-Trainers programmes on innovative teaching methods & lessons plans
o Design & Management of Interactive Learning courses, to infuse experiential learning and action-research assignments in existing and new courses
o Curriculum review and accreditation of new courses
o Enhancing quality assurance mechanisms
o Exchange with rural industry & development stakeholders to collect information on competencies/skills required as a basis for curriculum development (labour market intelligence)
· Community engagement, brokering and leadership capacities:
o Support to ongoing initiatives within each university to strengthen leadership and organizational capacity for community engagement and to facilitate the design trans- and inter-disciplinary action-research programmes in consultation with rural communities and other rural development stakeholders.
o Support to regional collective innovation (CI) hubs (i.e., in Limpopo and Eastern Cape provinces) to cultivate bottom-up formulation of innovation challenges, and to guide priority setting, research-team formation and implementation.
· National level capacity to support collective innovation
o Support to the Collective Innovation Network of Southern Africa (CINSA) to broaden its membership base, and strengthen its capacity to offer peer review and feedback, both within and beyond the scope of NICHE/ZAF/012.
o Support to knowledge and experience sharing, and documentation and dissemination of lessons learned.
The activities will be implemented by a Dutch-South African consortium, comprising ICRA, the Wageningen University (WU), the Centre for Development Innovation of the Wageningen University and Research Centre (CDI), the Maastricht School of Management (MSM), all based in the Netherlands, and Impetus Consulting and Skills Development (Impetus) in South Africa, together with the South African consortium of the three Universities.
Activities to date:
1. Three staff members have been trained on the design and management of interactive learning courses. They are Dr Nomakhaya Monde, Miss Thobela Nkukwana, and Mr Siyabonga Kobese. A fourth person was trained but left the University before she could be formally recruited.
2. Letters of Award have been received from the from NUFFIC and registration of the project is now under discussion.
3. Prospective members of the Programme Implementation Committee have been identified.
4. Project registration is completed and MoU is now being signed between the parties
Dr Lily-Rose Mlisy, Director of UFH Student Counselling Unit Briefing NUFFIC Representative Dr Carin Vijfhuisen during the latter's visit to Fort Hare on 26 July 2011
Professor Anthony Okoh (HoD Microbiology/Biochemistry) and Professor P. Tanga (HoD Social Work/Social Development) Represented the Executive Dean of Science & Agriculture, and the Programme Implementation Committee, respectively, at the Meeting with the NUFFIC Senior Programme Administrator
Mrs Rina Flanegan, Manager: Research Administration at Govan Mbeki Research & Development Centre briefed the NUFFIC Senior Programme Administrator about UFH Research Administration
Dr Carin Vijfhuisen (NUFFIC Senior Programme Administrator), and Professor Anthony Okoh (HoD, Microbiology and Biochemistry) during the NUFFIC visit to UFH.
Last Updated (Monday, 15 August 2011 07:53)