By Adejumo Kabir
At the commencement of the then University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University), Ile-Ife, Nigeria, in 1962/63 academic year, the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology (formerly Department of Agricultural Extension Education) was not, until in 1967, immediately established when other Departments also came into being in the Faculty of Agriculture.
IFE CITY NEWS gathered that the Faculty had earlier been founded in 1964. The pioneering staff members of the Department were the late Professor Robert Clark (of USAID/University of Wisconsin Team), retired Professor S.K.T. Williams and the late Professor J. Ade Alao.
Report has it that they were later joined by a number of trainee staff. The Department was, thus, established with the recognition that it would, in cooperation with other Departments in the Faculty, play an important role in helping to bring about improvement in agricultural production in Ife Division and by that enhance an improved level of living of the rural inhabitants.
The goal of the Department is to produce graduates with the requisite knowledge, skills and attitudes in the agricultural development process, and those who possess the competence to effectively transmit such skills to farmers and other members of the public.
The department enhance students’ acquisition of the understanding of basic natural science concepts, which are applicable to agriculture, enhance students’ comprehension of agricultural science concepts, principles, theories and skills in crop production, livestock production and soil management; fisheries and renewable resources, help students’ understand basic principles in agricultural economics and farm management, a mastery of the concepts.
It also help the principles, theories and skills in agricultural extension and rural sociology, needed to effectively transmit improved practices in agriculture to the practicing farmers and other members of the public and teach skills in research methodology needed to diagnose and approach agricultural development problems with confidence and effectiveness and help students acquire experience in rural development projects in some rural communities in the catchments area of the university through exposure to extending research information in agriculture, health, housing, home economics and other areas of rural life to improve the quality of life of the rural dwellers among others.
IFE CITY NEWS gathered that the department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology runs a demonstration farm of three hectares on the Teaching and Research Farm for the purpose of exposing research findings of the other Departments in the Faculty of Agriculture to practising farmers, and for teaching students how to plan a demonstration farm.
Emphasis has been on arable crops, cassava, soybean, maize, tomatoes, okra and leafy vegetables with the aim of determining the effect of use and rate of application of fertilizers to these crops. In recent years, research and transfer of improved Agricultural technologies have been expanded to include livestock productions.
Examples are sheep and goat rearing, indigenous poultry farming and turkey production. Others include snail production, fish farming, beekeeping and cane rat rearing.