AEFUNAI STUDENTS OF AGRICULTURE EMBARK ON VILLAGE OUTREACH
Students of the Faculty of Agriculture, Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike, Ebonyi State, recently embarked on a maiden agricultural extension village outreach, in meeting with the requirements for their 400 level course, Agricultural Extension Practice (AEE 403). The course which is designed to expose the fourth year students of Agriculture to real-time agricultural extension practices focuses on the importance of income diversification for the improvement of rural livelihoods and food security, with specific interest on all agronomic practices of cucumber as a way of increasing household income. The choice for Cucumber production as revealed by the team leader was as a result of the increasing demand for the product in the State as well as the requisite knowledge of the agronomic practices involved in producing the crop, which the students garnered in their earlier years in the university.
The team of staff and students led by Prof Mabel Dimelu, a Professor of Agricultural Extension on sabbatical in the University, visited Onyikwa, a nearby village to the University, where they first embarked on sensitization tour round the village after which the students used drama to educate the villagers on the health and income benefits of cucumber. They had two presentations; one of which focused on the need for the villagers to diversify their income by planting or engaging in different agricultural practices, and the second, on the agronomic practices of cucumber production. The farmers expressed joy for the visit by the staff and students of the University and look forward to more benefits from the Department and University. They expect to work with the University in solving some of their social, household and agricultural production challenges.
The Head of Department, Dr. Robert Onyeneke described the maiden village extension outreach of the Department of Agriculture, AE-FUNAI as a step in the right direction because it will raise hope for a new collaboration between the host communities and the University.
The students were accompanied to Onyikwa village for the extension outreach by the academic staff teaching the course, Prof. Mabel Dimelu, Mr Sikiru Ibrahim-Olesin and Mr Loveday Njoku, and the Acting Director Extension and Community Service of the University.