After 3 years in the University as an Agriculture student, you will have to use one year(the fourth year) as a Farm Practical year.
During my Farm year, we were exposed to various Agricultural trainings that really drew our attention to agriculture as a means of livelihood.
We expected to visit various Farms outside the school as planned: IITA, and other big farms were part of the agenda but that was not to be.We were to resume in our School’s Teaching and research Farm. For one whole year (October, 2007 – October,2008) we woke up and headed to School Animal farm from about 6:00am in the morning we reported at the Cattle/Sheep/Goat Section where we where shared into various groups.
Each group worked in each Animal Farm unit comprising of
1) The Cattle Unit
2) The Sheep/Goat
3) The Rabbitery
4) The Piggery Unit
5) The Poultry unit
Each unit is co-ordinated by a head and each group are to work in each farm unit for 3 weeks.
So a total of 15 weeks (about 4 months) is spent by each group in the animal section in the first part of the programme. We were also exposed to a lot required in managing an animal farm and we enjoyed doing the work even though it was stressful at first having to carry over 10kg of forage from the bush to the farm and feed your assigned animal, however overtime it became part of us.
About 7:00am we are to immediately report at the Crop Section where we on the first day we did Land mapping and sharing of plots each Student was given a plot, 10m long and 1m wide, there we planted fluted pumpkin and we were also assigned to another plot where we planted Water Melon and Maize/Corn.
By 12:00pm we were expected to resume some lectures in the Classroom related to Project Report writing or Farm business Management, we were well grounded to become Agricultural Managers when we graduate.
In the Second part of the Programme, after the first 4 months we were to rotate the Programme so in the Crop Section we had already harvested the Water melon and maize and we were given another plot for planting green amaranth and based on each department the bed should be made with either: Cowdung, Poultry droppings, or Pig droppings should be mixed with the top soil. We had tremendous results in that within less than 3 weeks of cultivation we had already started harvesting and selling large leafed Green amaranth vegetable!
We were also assigned to another bed where we planted Mung Bean or green beans, each indivual planted them to the orientation, either facing south east, South west as the case may be.
One of the most interesting parts I want forget was the Vermicomposting, We dug a hole about 30cm dip and used a large polytene nylon 2 lay inside the hole,this is to prevent the worm from escaping,then we collected enough cow dung and poured inside the hole ontop of the polythene,placed the eathworm with the soil and used rabbit droppings to cover the earthworm before covering them with wet grass.we collected earthworms from the base of plantain trees and colder areas near the ranch.it was so much fun,Farming is fun!
Apart from this we underwent several trainings on climate change and its effects on agriculture and a facilitor and speaker I presented the topic for my group, the role of Climate change on food production in Calabar, Cross rivers state, climatic data was collected and analised for 30 years and how it affected the food production of the area.
The Picture of my group in the Conference on Climate Change.I am second Left.