There is a growing realization that smallholder farmers do not maximize their full potential if their efforts stop at primary production. The smallholder farmers must go beyond production and add value at more points along the value chain. But traditional extension service providers currently focus on production agriculture. They are not sufficiently trained to provide advice beyond production. Hence, there is a need to develop new curricula and revise the current ones to cover the entire value chain agriculture. 


This implies for the need for universities and colleges of agriculture in Africa to review existing curricula, develop demand-driven programs, and acquire modern training materials to help them equip extension students and field staff with vital skills and knowledge to cope with current issues in agriculture. The curricula in universities and colleges must be responsive to emerging needs of African farmers along the whole agricultural value chain to ensure that coping with the realities faced by smallholder farmers remain at the center of rural development efforts.


SAFE embraces the idea of educational programs and university and college curricula being demand driven, that they reflect the current and emerging needs of farmers covering the entire agricultural value chain, and therefore of the extension agents who serve them. SAFE training must be relevant, timely and highly focused on meeting the needs of clients. SAFE and its partner institutions have decided to revise and develop the curricula along the entire value chain agriculture in order to respond to farmers’ needs and thus positively impact their livelihoods.


Accordingly, one of the operational objectives of SAFE is creating an enabling environment to develop and make operational a comprehensive initiative for identifying all relevant stakeholders and working with them to understand and internalize the need for continuously assessing and upgrading the skills and knowledge of extension staff. Steps have already been taken in this respect. SAFE, together with all stakeholders and universities, has stematically reviewed and revised the agricultural extension curricula of participating training institutions to ensure relevance over time.

The new value chain-oriented curriculum has been launched at all universities running the mid-career program. While the old curriculum was production-focused, the revised curriculum has a strong component of value addition (which includes small-scale processing, safety and quality assurance, packaging, storage, marketing, etc)

Content of the SAFE Program Curricula


Curricula promoted under the SAFE model are based essentially on farmers` needs and they are always preceded by a systematic need analysis covering the entire value chain agriculture. The programs being promoted by SAFE are unique in several aspects. They are demand-driven and based on identified needs. The curricula are streamlined to focus on the needs identified and therefore take shorter to complete. The programs are designed to improve competence at work.


Perhaps the most important characteristic is their practical-oriented nature. The programs provide practical, hands-on laboratories, problem-focused courses and field-based enterprises. Experiential learning (learning by doing) is at the foundation of the programs. As part of their training, the students together with their employers, farmers and researchers, develop ‘supervised enterprise project’ proposals relevant to their job as extensionists that they go back and implement in their work places. The students implement the projects under direct supervision of the university and their employers who own the programs. At the same time, the projects also provide unique and rare opportunities for academic staff to assess the relevance and effectiveness of their teaching and to identify other opportunities for learning from real life situations. The projects, also commonly known as Supervised Extension Projects (SEPs), provide a forum for bringing together the students, employers, farmers and the education institutions.


Secondly, teaching and learning is a sharing of a mixture of theoretical and practical experience between teaching staff and the students. Instruction is structured to take full advantage of the two-way exchange of experiences. Students learn with their jobs in mind and always try to see where the new knowledge fits in their professional career.  The programs buttress the practical experience of agricultural extension professionals to enable them to deal with the challenges of agricultural development in their respective countries.


Major Steps Involved in the SAFE Curriculum Development and Reform Process


The SAFE curriculum revitalization initiative involves seven essential steps in the process of curriculum transformation that are discussed below. The framework is not a blueprint, but a flexible guide to help universities and colleges in Africa that are in the process of developing their agricultural education curricula or reforming existing ones.

1. Informal dialogue among key stakeholders.

2. Clarifying common vision and mission.

3. Formal training needs assessment.

4. Workshop(s) for stakeholders.

5. Development of a responsive curriculum or reform of existing one.

6. Provision of back-up teaching/learning support services in the first few years of program implementation.

7. Establishing and forging strong networks among SAFE institutions and agencies to increase the stakeholders’ awareness of the need of continuously assessing knowledge and skill training needs of their advisory staff and market the program as means of filling gaps.

Click here to read more details about the major steps in curriculum development process.


The revised Curricula of Mid-career Training Programs
Will be downloaded soon. Stay tuned!


Supported by:

Partner Universities

  • University of Cape Coast,


    [Since 1993]

  • Haramaya University,


    [Since 1996]

  • Makerere University,


    [Since 1997]

  • Sokoine University,


    [Since 1998]

  • Kwadaso Agricultural

    College, Ghana.

    [Since 1999]

  • Ahmadu Bello University,


    [Since 2003]

  • Rural Polytechnic Inistitute

    for Training and Applied

    Research (IPR/IFRA), Mali.

    [Since 2003]

  • University of Abomey

    Calavi, Benin.

    [Since 2004]

  • University of Bobo


    Burkina Faso.

    [Since 2004]

  • University of Lilongwe,


    [Since 2005]

  • Hawasa University,


    [Since 2006]

  • Samanko Agricultural

    College, Mali.

    [Since 2006]

  • Bayero University,


    [Since 2007]

  • Adamawa State University,


    [Since 2011]

  • Bahir Dar University,


    [Since 2011]

  • University of Illorin,


    [Since 2011]

  • Mekele University,


    [Since 2012]

  • Jimma University,


    [Since 2013]

  • Wollo University,


    [Since 2013]

  • University of Segou,


    [Since 2014]

  • Usmanu Danfodiyo,


    [Since 2014]

  • Semera University,


    [Since 2016]

  • Arba Minch University,


    [Since 2016]

  • Jigjiga Univ.,


    [Since 2016]

SAFE News/Events

  • The 20th anniversary of SAFE will be celebrated in Ghana from November 06-07, 2013. More
  • The 20th anniversary of SAFE was celebrated in Ghana from November 6-7, 2013. More
  • The book entitled "Setting the Grassroots on Fire", which described the history of Sasakawa intervention in Ghana launched.More
  • Hawasa University (Ethiopia) awarded honorary Doctoral Degree to Mr Yohei Sasakawa.
  • The SAFE West Africa Coordinator got the 2013 AIAEE fellowship and outstanding performance. More
  • The Board Chair of SAFE, Hon. Prof. Ruth Oniang’o appointed as Vice-Chair of Global Forum on Agricultural Research. More
  • Top Aadministrators and Academics of SAFE partner Universities pay an exchange visit to University of Cape Coast, Ghana. More
  • A Regional Networking Workshop on ‘Creating, developing & sharing of modules electronically’ was held in Benin. More
  • A value chain training organized for lecturers at Jimma University on 11-14th of March, 2013.More
  • A one-day mid-career stakeholders workshop was organized in Ethiopia, at Desalgn Hotel on 10th of May 2013. More
  • Studies Conducted on Farmers Based Organization in Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mali and Uganda.More
20 Years of Extension Education in Africa: the SAFE Way

The 20th anniversary of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education (SAFE) was celebrated in Ghana (November 6-7, 2013). It was marked by a major symposium.

Read More ....


  • Evaluation of the SAFE Program at ABU and BUK, Nigeria - 2013Download
  • Feeding The Future: Special SAFE Anniversary Edition - 2013Download
  • Progrees Report of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education: 2011-2012 Download
  • The History of Sasakawa in Ghana "Setting The Grassroots on Fire"Download-Part 1

    Download-Part 2
  • Proceedings of the 2006 SAFE Regional Networking Workshop - Tanzania Download
  • Proccedings of the 2008 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Nigeria Download
  • Proccedings of the 2009 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Ethiopia Download
  • Proccedings of the 2010 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Ghana Download
  • Proccedings of the 2011 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Malawi Download
  • Proccedings of the 2012 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Benin
    [French] Download
  • Proccedings of the 2012 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Benin
    [English] Download
  • Proccedings of the 2013 SAFE Regional Technical Networking Workshop - Tanzania Download
  • A Case Study on Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education Programs in Ghana - 2007Download
  • Impact Assessment of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education Program in Ghana - 2007 Download
  • A Case Study on Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education Programs in Ghana - 2008 Download
  • Impact Assessment of the B.Sc. Program for Mid Career Extension Professionals at Haramaya University, Ethiopia- 2010Download
  • Assessment of the Sasakawa Africa Fund for Extension Education's Training Program at Alemaya University, Ethiopia - 2005Download
  • Assessment of the SAFE Program in Mali with Special Focus on SEPs - PhD Dissertation - 2010Download
  • Évaluation du programme de Maîtrise en Vulgarisation Agricole - IPR/IFRA [Mali] - 2010 Download