Agric Faculty Takes Extension Service To Rumuekini Community

By Mercy Adeniji

As part of their Agricultural Extension Service programme, which is to render services to farmers, the Faculty of Agriculture in conjunction with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension recently took their extension services to Rumuekini Community.

Declaring open the event, held at the Rumuekini Civic Centre, penultimate Thursday, the new Dean of the Faculty of Agriculture, Professor  Ekanem Wokoma, commended the women for turning out en masse to grace the occasion, stating that she was very delighted  to be in Rumuekini, as it marked the first project the Faculty was doing in the Community.

 “We felt if we reach out to this community, they would also benefit from the relationship already existing in the area. This is the first time the Faculty of Agriculture is carrying out a Village extension service. I could remember, one of the things I would love to achieve in my tenure as a Dean is to reach out to the neighbouring communities and this is part of that push to extend our services to the communities around us, so they would know that Agriculture is in University of Port Harcourt. We are ready to provide extension services, so we want to work with them and interact with the farmers in the area”, she disclosed.

Professor Ekanem, who took over from Professor Love Akonye,, said the Faculty decided to come to Rumuekini community because it is easier to reach and is also closer to the University. “We have our plight and we have to render our services in several ways”, she noted, charging the farmers to be actively involved in what they have been taught and feel free to try out the recipes and produce something.

Also speaking, Acting Head, Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension, Dr Samuel Olatunji, disclosed that “this Project is the brain child of the Department, which is also part of the Department's cooperate Social Responsibility to the society and part of our work as Extensionists. So we are to bridge the gap between the university and the community, which is called bringing the town and gown together and we do a lot of research,” stating that this is the reason why the Department is in the community to show the people how they can add value to their lives and the community instead of waiting for the Government to do everything for them.

Team Leader, Social Laboratory Network Project (SLANEP), Dr Olufemi Adesope, said the idea to come to Rumuekini is that we are starting from pilot communities of which Rumuekini happens to be one “As Agricultural Extensionists, the need to reach out to our immediate communities brought SLANEP to life. “As Extensionists, we need to reach out to people; we need to carry out research activities that we do at the University level in the immediate communities.”

 Dr Adesope disclosed that “at present, Nigeria is the highest producer of Cassava, which is one of the most important stable foods not only in Nigeria and in so many other countries, such as Brazil and Thailand. This crop, Cassava is contributing so much to the Nigerian economy and other Countries in the World”, adding that the Federal Government of Nigeria, recently launched the Pro-Vitamin A, Cassava product enriched with Vitamin A, which is good for Adults, children and also Nursing mothers and this is the reason why the Department is paying so much attention to Cassava products.

In his contribution, Community Development Committee Chairman, Chief Chukwu Solomon, expressed satisfaction with the training given to the community.” I am happy and we welcome this development. My advice to the trainers is to involve the youths and teach them how to turn these products to marketable materials. Some participants, Mrs Blessing Onu, Blessing Owhor and Mrs Josephine Wali, thanked the University and the Faculty for bringing the workshop and exhibition to their doorstep.

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