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Chance Kabaghe

Executive Director, Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute

Zambia

What most impressed the professional colleagues who nominated this role model?

Chance Kabaghe is one of Zambia’s leading agribusiness professionals.  His career has bridged multiple worlds – in agri-business, government, public policy and academia – all at very high levels and with impressively broad impact in key areas affecting agricultural development.  In the business world, he played a key role in the promotion of hybrid maize seeds while serving Marketing Director at Zamseed during the 1980s.  He continues active involvement in many of Zambia’s major agri-businesses, serving as director and chairman on multiple agribusiness corporate boards.

In government, he served as Deputy Minister of Agriculture and as the first Executive Director of Zambia’s Food Reserve Agency, where he was instrumental in establishing Zambia’s market-friendly system of strategic food reserves.  Drawing on his early career in the academic world, he has emerged a key leader in national and regional agricultural policy debates.  Within Zambia, he directs the Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute (IAPRI) and regionally, he serves as Managing Director of the Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI).  Rarely has a single person bridged so many intersecting worlds to such great effect.   

What motivated you to pursue a career in agriculture?

  • I was born and grew up in a village in Isoka district in Eastern Zambia.  In a village setting, there were no any other activities you could call business apart from agricultural related activities. I looked after cattle and helped growing maize and beans with my parents.  
  • As I grew up, I realized that agriculture would be the main stay of the Zambian economy. Because of Zambia’s abundant land and water resources, I became convinced that agriculture would feed Zambia and indeed the region.
  • This agricultural business potential gave me the impetus to study agriculture.  Both my training and my professional life have focused on the development of agriculture and agribusinesses. 

How can agricultural education institutions more effectively prepare African students for successful agribusiness careers? 

  • A lot needs to change.  The syllabi we have in the high learning institutions have not changed for many decades.  The curriculum has been tailored to train graduates for employment in the Ministry of Agriculture and other public agricultural companies.  It does not have a strong component of entrepreneurship.  Today, the Ministry of Agriculture is saturated.  So the curriculum needs to be changed to prepare graduates to start their own companies.
  • In previous years, students were placed in companies so they could gain practical skills needed in agricultural companies.  Currently, our agricultural training institutions offer more theory than practical training. I would prefer to see a curriculum that encourages students to visit farms and industry.  For example, in Germany it is mandatory for a student to have a one year practical experience at the farm or agro – company.
  • Lecturers need to be retrained at all levels. If we are saying our students are theoretical, it means that even the lecturers have been theoretical. So there is need indication training for lecturers. 
  • The lecturers should be computer literacy. They have to understand the computer in order to keep up with the modern world.   

Career highlights

  • Executive Director, Indaba Agricultural Policy Research Institute.
  • Managing Director, Regional Network of Agricultural Policy Research Institutes (ReNAPRI).
  • Chairman: Freshpikt, Zampalm, Seedco, Maltagric and Capital Fisheries.
  • President, Manufacturers Association of Zambia. 
  • Deputy Minister of Agriculture, for Marketing and Cooperatives.
  • Chief Executive, Zambia Food Reserve Agency.
  • Marketing Director, Zamseed.
  • Lecturer, University of Zambia School of Agricultural Science.
  • Head of Department of Agribusiness, Natural Resource Development College.

Educational background

  • Primary school:          Mtendere Primary School.    
  • Secondary school:      Muzuzu Secondary.
  • University:                 
    • Diploma in agribusiness management, Natural Resource Development College (NRDC).
    • B.A. Agricultural Economics, University of Zambia.
    • M.Sc., Agricultural Economics, Wye College of Agriculture, London University.