Final year students of the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Development, Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, recently visited the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) to learn basic skills, on value addition and strategies of agricultural enterprise, that would enhance their studies.
While receiving the students at the university’s Agricultural Media Resources and Extension Centre (AMREC), Dr Oluwafunmilayo Oluwalana told them to dream big but start small.
She also encouraged them to seek and acquire knowledge in their youthful days, since information was vital to development. She noted that the main challenge facing the agricultural sector in Nigeria was in the area of value addition of agricultural products, as she urged relevant stakeholders to find lasting solutions to the problem. She also charged the upcoming agricultural entrepreneurs to develop a business plan through which they will be properly guided to make headway in the industry.
“We have three mandates in the university: teaching, research and extension. Here in AMREC, we focus on value-added processing and agricultural business management. We bring agriculture to you as an enterprising adventure. And so far, three of our products in AMREC have been patented and we have been able to develop many products.”
Speaking on how to make agricultural business profitable, Dr Oluwalana disclosed that before one goes into agriculture business, one needs to know what makes the product special, who will buy the product and the name of the company, among other things.
Mr ‘Lasun Somoye of the centre also shed light on the Media and Farm Broadcast (MFB) Programme of AMREC in translating agricultural research findings into media materials, with emphasis on audio-visuals as well as extension publication, for dissemination to stakeholders in agriculture across the South-West.
Others who sensitised the students were Mr Adesanya Olukayode of the Extension and Adaptive Research (EAR), Mrs Adeloye Temitope of the Training and Farm Demonstration (TFD) and Mr Rotimi Onifade of the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PME) Programme.
According to a student leader of the OAU team, Bukola Ojo, the purpose of the visit was to enable them acquire more knowledge in agricultural technologies, which had led them to inspect various projects and locations in the university, such as the bakery, ‘garri’ processing factory, cashew nut factory and Palmwine factory, among others.
Ojo added that the visit was part of the basic requirements needed to pass the course on ‘Agro-Industrial Technology, Generation and Utilisation,’ with the primary purpose of developing appropriate technology in crop production, noting that FUNAAB was chosen for the visit because it had carved a niche for itself among the leading universities in the country in the area of agricultural practices.
Mr Adesanya of the EAR highlighted some of the areas the university had been able to impact on farmers, processors and funded projects.
“Our programme is saddled with the responsibility of taking agriculture trainings to schools, particularly, secondary schools, to stir up their interest. Through our ‘Agricultural in School Project,’ we have been able to organise trainings in cassava production, fish farming and so on. We also collaborated with other extension projects like CAVA II Project, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation,” he said.