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This activity was commissioned and funded by the FAO Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP) agrobiodiversity programme and implemented by the Forest Genetic Resources and Forest Extension offices at FAO.

The African Network for Agroforestry Education (ANAFE), launched in 1993 and hosted at the World Agroforestry Centre, consisting of 124 members in 34 countries by 2002 (ANAFE, 2002), provided technical and logistical backstopping for the stakeholder consultations in the region.

FAO and ANAFE acknowledge the direct and/or indirect contributions made by various institutions and individuals to this review as well as the proposed curriculum for the development of the present tree seed modules.

The roles played by the institutions that actively participated in the survey and follow-up discussions are particularly appreciated. The institutions are Baraka Agricultural College, Bukura College of Agriculture and Kenya Forestry College (in Kenya), Forestry Training Institute Olmotonyi and Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute, Tengeru (in Tanzania), and Nyabyeya Forestry College and Bukalasa Agricultural College (in Uganda). Special mention should be made of the lecturers and students in these institutions who, despite quite pressing engagements, spared some time for the exercise.

Farmers and extension staff who participated in the exercise contributed to identifying the real gaps in tree seed knowledge. Their contribution is gratefully acknowledged.

The college visits and stakeholder consultations were implemented by T.V. Balole, a senior lecturer at Botswana College of Agriculture, and E. Sabas of Tanzania Forestry Research Institute. Overall technical guidance to the final content of the report was provided by Ms Holding Anyonge (FAO) and Professor Temu (ANAFE).

The authors are particularly appreciative of the time taken by those who reviewed the report and curriculum and provided useful suggestions towards the finalization of this text: Pieter van Lierop, Forestry Officer (Education) FAO, Roland Kindt and Jens Peter Barnekow Lilleslo (ICRAF) and Pierre Sigaud, Forestry Officer, (Forest Genetic Resources) FAO.

The authors also wish to thank Ms Rita Mulinge of ANAFE/ICRAF for providing high quality administrative and logistical services during the periods of the fieldwork, and Ms Eileen Nolan, FAO consultant, for editing and layout of the final document.

We look forward to future and active participation in ensuring that the modules so developed are implemented and, when the need arises, reviewed. It is only through active collaboration and participation that we can really improve lives as well as the landscape.


In collaboration with the African Network for Agroforestry Education (ANAFE), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a study in east African forestry and agricultural training colleges to assess the status of tree seed components in their curricula with the aim of enhancing them. Seven agricultural and forestry colleges in eastern Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) were visited between 17 November and 2 December 2003. This activity was conducted under the first phase of FAO Netherlands Partnership Programme (FNPP) Agro-biodiversity component, 2003 - 2004. The objectives of this programme were to:

The seven colleges visited were:

Kenya: Baraka Agricultural College (private), Bukura Agricultural College (government owned) and Kenya Forestry College - Londiani (government owned)

Tanzania: Forestry Training College - Olmotonyi and Ministry of Agriculture Training Institute Tengeru (both government owned)

Uganda: Bukalasa Agricultural College and Nyabyeya Forestry College (both government owned)

In addition, in all the three countries, farmers and extension officers were visited and interviewed for their knowledge and interest in tree seed education and practice.

The objectives of the surveys were to:

Through questionnaires, interviews and interactive discussions it was revealed that the colleges were at different developmental stages with regard to teaching of agroforestry and tree seed education at both diploma and certificate levels. However, broad spectrums of niches exist in each institution for incorporating tree seed education into the teaching programmes. Extension staff and farmers expressed the need for tree seed knowledge. Farmers have a rich indigenous knowledge of handling tree seed. However, this knowledge is restricted to species for immediate needs and uses. Tree seed teaching modules were developed taking into consideration the need to build upon and complement already available knowledge.

Taking into account the various levels of development of these colleges, their facilities need enhancement and hence modules developed for certificate and diploma levels cannot be standard but are such that relevant sections can be pulled out and modified to suit different situations. The same flexibility and modification of modules is envisioned in the case of in-service training of extension staff (who do not necessarily have a forestry background) and leaders of farmers' organizations when faced with tree seed handling challenges. Special emphasis has been placed on integrating indigenous and scientific knowledge to develop new approaches to tree seed handling.

On the basis of farmers' needs identified during the surveys, six tree seed curriculum modules were developed. The modules are listed in table 1. Where possible, the modules should be taught following the sequence of module codes. Contact hours include time for theory, practicals and assessment of learning.

Table 1: Proposed tree seed modules for both agriculture and forestry programmes


Title of module

Contact hours


Concepts and principles of on-farm tree management

Selecting species and seed

Seed quality assessments


Determining needs



Tree seed biology

Morphology of fruit

Development and maturation of seed



Seed collection, handling and storage

External factors influencing seed production and factors to consider prior to seed collection

Seed sources and equipment/tools for seed collection

Handling of fruits and seed between collection and processing



Germination, vegetative propagation and nursery management

Seed processing and storage

Seed dormancy and pre-treatment

Seeding development

Establishment and nursery management

Other tree propagation methods - vegetative propagation methods - cuttings, grafting, marcotting, layering, propagule handling techniques




- Treatment to control pests and diseases



Community-based tree germplasm management and enterprises

Link farmers to tree seed and seedling markets

Devise simple and affordable innovations for farmers and local entrepreneurs to manage tree seed enterprises

Support local communities to develop and implement tree seed and seedling supply and enterprise initiatives


Modules T2 - T5 can be effectively taught using the existing materials and facilities in the forestry colleges visited. Whilst in agricultural colleges there is a need to develop facilities and teaching materials relevant to tree seed education, forestry colleges seem to have some basic facilities. Some exchange and sharing is encouraged for the effective implementation of these modules. In agricultural colleges there is a need to train staff in tree seed issues for these modules to be effectively taught. Additional supporting materials, references focusing on the social and economic aspects of the locally sustainable handling and procurement of quality tree seed, as well as contacts with field projects, NGOs and government extension programmes, will be required to effectively implement and demonstrate TS1 and TS6. Continuous assessment will be used to rate student performance and this will be done through tests, assignments, practicals and field reports.

Development is a dynamic process and it is recommended, therefore, that the modules be reviewed and revised as may be dictated by developmental processes at institutional level and by relevant stakeholders.

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