It is now mandatory for undergraduate students of Federal Universities of Agriculture, to own farms of their own before they can graduate from the schools – Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh, says.
Speaking yesterday during a meeting with members of the governing councils in Abuja, Audu Ogbeh, directed the governing Councils of all Federal Universities of Agriculture, to ensure that every student in their institution owns viable farmlands on campus from 200-level till graduation.
“Every undergraduate must- and I repeat- must own a farm on campus from 200 level. We are training high-level young farmers who, even before graduating, should have started earning a living.
“We should be training graduates who should be going straight into production, with credit support from their alma-Mata, produce chicken, eggs, goats, milk, set up meat laboratories, bake bread and above all produce and sell large quantities of high-quality hybrid seeds,” he said.
He said farmers were in desperate need of these services and more, adding that the institutions would make huge profits from innovative agricultural practice.
Ogbeh noted that the three federal universities of agriculture were established to advance the cause of agricultural transformation and modernisation in Nigeria for the development of core competencies in agricultural education, research, and training, amongst others.
“It is, therefore, expected that the admission policy of these universities will largely be reflective of this overarching goal. Our submission is that, in the long run, the universities will be better served if they focus on their core areas of business rather than on the subsidiaries,” he said.
He, thus, called on the institutions not to overlook the opportunities to earn huge revenues from agricultural research, seed and seedling development, extension work, soil mapping and even production of food on campus.
“You have huge parcels of land averaging 10,000 ha each. I enjoin you to put them to use. Raise plantations as it is done in Abeokuta and Umudike already. Scale- up the plantations over time and earn income. Be the food basket of your respective host communities.”