CAADP and RAVAAK (Resource, Aquaculture, Value Addition, Agribusiness and Knowledge) Centres

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The RAVAAK Centre model has been selected by the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) as a possible private sector driven model that can drive the Agricultural Technical and Vocational Education and Training (ATVET). The reason for taking this model is because it addresses the many challenges that smallholder farmers face. After making the presentation to the stakeholders in agriculture and training in Nairobi recently the question that followed was: and what did you explain is the meaning of RAVAAK, I sought to explain what the RAVAAK in the paragraphs below:

Resources (R)

With so much work going on on Natural Resources, we have integrated Resources focus to define the work that people can discuss, see or even share knowledge on in the community telecentre that we work with smallholder farmers to create.

Aquaculture (A)

But it is the aquaculture, for which we are carrying out a project with the World Bank and the Kenya Government in promoting inland fish production that has kept me out of town for such a long time. We are promoting aquaculture as the foundation on which some telecentres exist and for which they offer extension and support services.

Value Addition (VA)

The foundation of VACID Africa (Value Addition and Cottage Industry Development in Africa) was and still is value addition. We train and support farmers to undertake value addition in whatever they do. By value addition we may not mean processing but even basic storage, for the sake of increasing shelf life of a commodity or even cleaning of others is sufficient value addition.

Agribusiness (A)

One of the critical challenges of smallholder agriculture, which is where most telecentre services are required, is in making business out of agriculture. Smallholder farmers never cost their engagement with agriculture, mainly because that is their work and if we all were to cost our work minute by minute and compare with the earnings we make, we may leave our jobs and then no one would be working for others. Business owners normally work long hours for themselves but they call that entrepreneurship. We have come to coin the world agripreneurship to mean the practice of agriculture as an avenue for earning finance. When agripreneurship and the tenets of doing business the way it is known in natural language are integrated into agriculture, we create agribusiness. Agribusiness is therefore a critical element of learning agriculture at our farmer owned telecentres where they are offered knowledge on what they do in their farmers so that they can undertake agriculture as a business or as they say in kiswahili to engage with 'kilimo biashara'

Knowledge (K)

The knowledge element associated with telecentres and more so associated with my earlier life before I became an advocate for farmers, my focus then as is the came at times is to promote the collection of raw data for aggregation and analyse to create information. In what my earlier life referred to as the Wisdom model, when information is synthesized, it creates knowledge. The creation of knowledge calls for knowledge workers to work together and with the people who may need what they synthesize. It is this that is so important when put together in the rural ICT center so that it now becomes a knowledge center. Of course the Wisdom model went further to integrate different knowledge sets to create wisdom.

Much of all this may be done using localized community owned computers and since this cannot be done in any other framework in rural areas, the model of a telecentre that is funded with resources coming from the trade in the agricultural commodity produced there helps us see what we do with data processing for farmer records as providing a wider platform for doing more. We therefore dissuade the farmer organizations that we support not to create ICT departments, but rather create RAVAAK centers so that local people can use it as it also gets used to process data for the value chain in focus.

Indeed, when we visit telecentres and use it for sharing videos, whether online or on DVDs captured in the field to train people in various aspects of agriculture, we are sharing information and knowledge. The facilitator may be a local sage who is available to educate youths and to have videos captured to aggregate local knowledge otherwise called indigenous knowledge.

I trust this helps people appreciate the foundation of the the RAVAAK Centres as a super-set of the standard telecentre.

Kiringai Kamau
Founder, Value chain Analyst and Knowledge Specialist
VACID Africa, Nairobi-Kenya
       
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    Replied by VACID Africa Info on Monday, June 10 2013, 08:11 am · Hide · #1
    With this it is possible to position any activity in the pyramid of RAAVAK. It seems to me that all businesses not only necessarily agriculture oriented but affiliated are one way another influenced by this model and approach.
    T
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