Five University of Wisconsin-Extension officials will travel to Tanzania this summer to help educate local farmers. Marty Havlovic, retired community resource development educator for UW-Marquette County, is part of a team of five Extension officials and a northeast Columbia County farmer who will work in teams of two to train officials of Tanzania's Ministry of Agriculture in the "soft skills" of showing farmers how to inaugurate agricultural operations which will grow soybeans and rice for export to Asia.
Havlovic, along with former UW-Marquette County colleague Agricultural Agent Lyssa Seefeldt, will go to Tanzania to make an initial assessment on the educational and interpersonal skills of the Tanzanian Ministry of Agriculture workers before two more trips are made later in the summer by the other UW-Extension officials participating in the effort to continue the work.
Agricultural officials in Tanzania, an east African nation located on the Indian Ocean, have farming expertise. What they need, Havlovic said, is training in the skills by which they communicate that expertise to instruct the local farmers. "They have the technical skills, but we're going to provide them with the personal skills. When it comes to teaching new skills to farmers, it's not enough to know how to plow a field or drive a tractor," Havlovic said. "I can know my subject, but if I can't communicate with people then knowing how to plow is useless."
Topics to be covered include the ways in which adults learn, how people interact, and how group dynamics can affect communication. The efforts by Havlovic, Seefeldt, and their UW-Extension colleagues will help the agricultural industry in Tanzania to capitalize on the country's optimism about the venture of growing soybeans and rice for export to nations such as China and Japan.
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