Agric. Extension

    & Rural Development

         

 

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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. 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. 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.

 

Philosophy and Objectives of the Department

 

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 objectives are to:

(i) enhance students’ acquisition of the understanding of basic natural science concepts, which are applicable to agriculture;
(ii) enhance students’ comprehension of agricultural science concepts, principles, theories and skills in crop production, livestock production and soil management; fisheries and renewable resources

(iii) help students’ understand basic principles in agricultural economics and farm management;
(iv) a mastery of the concepts, 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.
(v) teach skills in research methodology needed to diagnose and approach agricultural development problems with confidence and effectiveness; and
(vi) 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.

 

Research and Development facilities


 On-station Demonstration Farm

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.


 
Integrated Isoya and Ede North Rural Development Project

As a major rural development strategy, the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology runs an outreach programme for the Faculty of Agriculture – the Rural Development Project – in two ecological zones: a rain forest station in the Ife-East and Ife-Central (formerly Oranmiyan LGA) Local Government Areas, and a derived savanna station in Egbedore (formerly Ede) Local Government Area. This project is the field-based laboratory for the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, which enhanced testing of extension principles and philosophies among rural farmers; teaching of student about rural living; collection and establishment of database; and assisting in the empowerment processes of the rural dwellers. Historically, when the then (University of Ife) now Obafemi Awolowo University moved to its present permanent site in Ile-Ife in 1968, it was recognized that the Department of Agricultural Extension and Rural Sociology, in cooperation with other Departments in the Faculty of Agriculture, could play an important role in helping to improve agricultural production in the then Ife Division and thus raising the level of living of rural habitants.


In 1969, nine villages were selected for their contiguity and accessibility to the University. These are Erefe, Aroko, Iyanfoworogi, Ladin, Akeredolu, Isoya, Olorombo, Esera and Walode. These villages are situated in the rain forest belt of southern Nigeria. There are two marked seasons (a dry season from November to March with an average rainfall of 5” and a rainy season between April and October with rainfall ranging between 40”– 60”). The majority of the population is dependent wholly or partly on the land for its livelihood. Cocoa is the major cash crop and the area, with highly suitable soils and rainfall. It therefore, has been scheduled as one of the major cocoa redevelopment areas. The villages are also individually characterized by varying proportion of adult males who are full time farmers, part-time farmers, artisans and traders.  The following are some of the objectives of the project, which have helped the Department to make appreciable impacts on members of the public:


(1) Developing a model for approaching rural development in the selected villages that could be applied later and on wider scale.
(2) Field-testing and demonstrating innovations.
(3) Serving as a research centre for testing and applying methods of community development and extension.
(4) Assisting the inhabitants of the area to improve their level of living.
In 1982, the Isoya Integrated Rural Development Project was replicated at another Ecological zone (derived Savanna).

 

The following villages were selected in the zone:
Aro, Ojo, Ikotun and Ile Aro with the headquarters at Awo in Egbedore Local Government area of Osun State. Some of the action programmes at this new location are: (a) Arable crops and (b.) Livestock programme (West African Dwarf Goat Management Programme). In both locations the Department have successfully introduced the innovations, which are widely adopted by farmers in the outreach programme.
This project has been evaluated to assess the total number of innovations released and the number adopted, and to determine the rate of adoption.


 Agricultural Media Resource Library (AMREL)

 

The Media Resource Library (AMREL) is set up for the purpose of teaching Agricultural Communication in Extension. It houses some audio-visual equipment such as the multi-media projector, still and motion camera, computers with internet facilities, television, and overhead projector.  Flip charts and Public address system (PAS) are also provided. The library is being run by a staff, who assists in using the equipment to guide and teach students as occasion demands.

 

The Departmental research Fields are:

 

Group dynamics and Leadership studies in Extension

Adoption  studies

Communication in Extension

Training  in Extension

Extension Administration

Child and Youth Studies in Rural Communities

Programme Planning in Extension

Evaluation in Extension

Indigenous knowledge in agriculture

Community Development Studies

Social Systems Studies

Women and Gender studies in Rural Communities

 

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