The repositioning of Agriculture as the key and sustainable driver of our national economy requires the evolution of curricula that will equip students with necessary skills required to engage them as active players in the agricultural value chain and in conformity with National goals as guided by regulatory bodies like the National University Commission (NUC) minimum standard of training and the Nasarawa State University’s vision.
Agriculture is by far the most important of the world economic activities. Yet, the study of agriculture receives relatively little attention from youths. This is an attempt to provide young people with a good knowledge of the basic principles and techniques of Agriculture and the motivation with which they can translate this knowledge into real improvement in agricultural productivity as a means of their livelihood and self employment..
The establishment of Faculty of Agriculture and the siting of same in Lafia to collaborate with the College of Agriculture Lafia is a bold institutional arrangement for agricultural research, training and extension that could rapidly transform farmers’ skills in agricultural production, harvesting, post-harvesting technology, utilization and marketing. It is envisaged that it would further empower the state to become the largest exporter of food to other states and beyond.
The Faculty of Agriculture of Nasarawa State University started with five academic Departments as follows:
- Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension
- Department of Agronomy (Crop Production and Soil Science)
- Department of Animal Science
- Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries
- Department of Home Science and Management (with options in Food and Home Science, clothing and Textiles and Nutrition and Dietetics)
At the inception of the University (February, 2002) one of the mandates was to establish Faculty of Agriculture. A team of experts in various field of Agriculture from the University of Agriculture Abeokuta (UNAAB) was invited to conduct a feasibility study and on the spot assessment of available facilities for the establishment of the Faculty of Agriculture in Lafia. The team of consultants carried out their assessment between 30th June and 5th June, 2002.
The report submitted by the team of experts reasoned and concluded that the take-off of the Faculty of Agriculture in Lafia during 2002/2003 academic session (a session behind the take off of the University was feasible. The experts report highlighted essential facilities and other supportive actions that would enhance the smooth takeoff of the Faculty. The Faculty started in 2002/2003 academic session with twelve (12) students admitted into its 100 level at Keffi. Movement to Lafia as a tenant within the College of Agriculture (COAL) took place in January, 2004 to commence the 2003/2004 academic session with twelve (12) 200 level students, five (5) academic staff and five (5) non-academic staff and 27 non-academic staff.
During the phase I of the Faculty’s development plan (2002/2003-2008), the Faculty intends to develop fully Departments recommended by the team of consultants. At the phase 2, it is envisaged that these sub programmes will evolve into specialized Departments; these are:
(i) Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension
(ii) Department of Agronomy (Crop and Soil Science
(iii) Department of Animal Science
(iv) Department of Forestry, Wildlife and fisheries
(v) Department of Home Science and Management
These five Departments would service four (4) academic programmes listed below through joint courses and practicals.
- Agriculture (with options in Agricultural Economics and Extension, Agronomny and Animal Science
- Forestry and Wildlife
- Home Science and Management (with options in Food and Home Science, clothing and Textiles and Nutrition and Dietetics)
For the Bachelor of Agriculture, all the students offer the same courses from 100 to 400 level while the 500 level (fifth year) is reserved for students to have some modicum of specialization in any of the programmes mentioned above.
The first year of the B. Agric., B. Fisheries, and B. forestry and Wildlife as well as B.Sc. Home Science and Management programme is devoted to the study of the basic sciences. The second and the third years (200-300 level) are spent acquiring practical and theoretical knowledge through the media of lectures, laboratory practicals, farm visits and farm practice in all the subjects of Agriculture.