HISTORY OF THE FACULTY OF AGRICULTURE
The Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nigeria, Nsukka was founded in October, 1960 as the firs land Grant Faculty of Agriculture not only in Nigeria but in Africa. Founded at the wake of Nigerian Independence, the faculty Of Agriculture was among the first set of faculties of the University to start classes on the 17th of October 1960. This was barely 10 days after the formal opening of the University (7th October, 1960) by Her Royal Highness the Princess Alexandra of Kent who represented Queen Elizabeth II at the Nigerian Independence celebration.
The Faculty was founded with the assistance of the Michigan State University under the auspices of USAID (Unites States Agency of International Development) to be one of the leading centers of teaching and research in Agriculture in the continent of Africa. It was the first faculty of Agriculture in Nigeria. The first dean of the faculty was Professor Payne of Michigan State University while deans of the faculty after him, their base departments and tenure were: Professor Bede Okiagbo (Crop science, 1967-1973), Professor A.N.A Modebe (Animal science, 1973-1975), Professor D.M Ekpete (Soil science, 1975-1977), Professor Ikeme (Vet. Medicine, 1977-1979), Professor F.O.C. Ezedimma (Crop science, 1979-1981, Professor P.O Ngoddy (Food Science and Tech, 1987-1989), Professor W.O Enwezor (Soil Science, 1989-1991), Professor T.O.C Ndubuizu (Crop Science, 1991-1993), Professor B.I Orji (Animal Science, 1993-1995) Professor F.C, Obioha (Animal Science, 1995- 1997), Professor R.O Ogbuji (Crop Science, 1997 – 1999), Professor I. U Obi (Crop Science 1999 – 2000), Professor A. U. Okorie (Animal Science, 2000 – 2002), Professor J.S.C Mbagwu (Soil Science, 2002 – 2004), Professor Ike Ikeme (Food Science & Technology, 2004- 2006), Professor M.C Madukwe (Agricultural Extension, 2006 – 2008), Professor C.A. Igwe (Soil Science, 2008 – 2010), Professor K.P. Baiyeri (Crop Science, 2010 – 2012), Professor S.O.C. Ugwu (Animal Science 2012 -2014) Professor N.M. Nnam (Home Sci, Nutrition & Dietetics, 2014), Professor B.C Echezona (Crop Science, 2016 – 2018), and currently Professor A.E. Agwu (2018 – 2020).
At the inception, the departments that made up the Faculty were Agricultural Economics, Animal Science, Plant/Soil Science and Home Economic. Veterinary Science and Agricultural Mechanization were then departments under the Faculty of Agriculture. Students specialized from the first year in any one of these areas. The assistance of the experts from Michigan State University was reflected in the provision and laying out of the facilities in the Faculty which were intended to provide for effective teaching, learning and research in all areas o agriculture. The founding fathers of the Faculty set aside more than 209 hectares of farm land to take care of field crops plantation crops, cattle paddocks and production units for Poultry, sheep/goat, pigs and rabbits with each unit having necessary farm structures and enabling modern facilities for effective practical training of students in the various areas of Agriculture. In addition to these, there were:
- Functional agricultural mechanization department equipped with an engineering workshop, assorted tractors ploughs, harrows, ridgers, boom sprayers, silage harvesters and other simple equipment and tools.
- A multipurpose abattoir with facilities for slaughter, meat chilling and packing services, It was in the plant of the founding fathers that the Faculty abattoir will be connected with rail route from Eha – Amufu so that trade cattle from Northern Nigeria will be brought to the Faculty by rail for fattening, slaughter and supple of good quality beef to different urban cities in Eastern Nigeria. This dream was aborted by the sudden eruption of the Nigerian civil war.
- Irrigation lines with hydrants running in parallel lines across the flat plateau of the farmland for all seasons production of staple crops by sprinkler irrigation
- Concrete water reservoir located on the Dairy Hill fed with water from the Faculty bore hold in these valleys below which supplied water by gravity for the sprinkler irrigation and to the different farm units.
- Fully automated green houses with facilities for research in soil and crop related agricultural problems
- Well equipped laboratories for all departments properly stocked with relevant equipment and supplies.
- Fully automated feed mill with silos and stores for storage of feed ingredients and manufactured feeds.
- Automatic egg incubator and hatchery with refrigerated egg storage room
- Well-constructed silage pits for production of silage for feeding of ruminants (Dairy and beef cattle, sheep/ goats) during the dry season
- Well–constructed silage pits for production of silage for feeding of ruminants (Dairy and beef cattle, sheep/goats) during the dry season.
- About 50 ha of pastures separated into paddocks and planted yup with high quality pasture grasses and legumes.
The above state of the art facilities as provided at inception by the founding fathers were unfortunately vandalized during the Nigerian civil war that lasted for three years (1967 – 1970). At the end of the war, most of the facilities were re-habilitated with the assistance of international agencies, the Federal government and other stakeholders. A few years after the civil war (early 1979s), the Faculty initiated the review of her academic programmes based on the conviction that the graduates of Agriculture required more knowledge in general agriculture to perform well as Agricultural Officers in the Ministry and as managers of large scale agricultural enterprises, than was the case with early specialization in different areas of agriculture adopted from inception. The Faculty after much discussion developed a new curriculum which was an improvement over the existing one that was deficient in practical field experience and came up with a five year degree programme in Agriculture (Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension, Animal Science, Crop Science and Soil Science). The fifth/final year is meant for specialization in any of the care areas. This curriculum is unique because the fourth year is spent completely in the field (farm Year) during which the students are involved in the practical components of the five core areas under strict supervision. The grading of the practical courses is done in the field based on participation in farm practical activities. The degree in any area of specialization of the end of the fifth year became B. Agric and no longer B.Sc. Our Faculty of Agriculture was the firsts to adapt the professional Agriculture curriculum in the country with other Faculties of Agriculture joining in a year or more later. The graduates that passed through the programme become more equipped for jobs in the public and private agricultural establishments, banks and academic institutions. They also become more equipped to make a career in agriculture as entrepreneurs and could compete with their counterparts in any part of the world.
The Faculty of agriculture, University of Nigeria, Nsukka has indeed rendered meritorious service to the nation and the entire humanity for the past 50 years. It has produced thousands of high quality Bachelors degree, M Sc. and PhD holders currently serving in different parts of the world.
The vision of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria
A Faculty of Agriculture that will respond to the academic and welfare needs of staff and students and responsive to the needs of the society; a centre of excellence in research, innovation and entrepreneurship and where all members of staff will have a sense of belonging, live in peace, harmony and mutual respect all geared towards the upliftment of our University.
The mission of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Nigeria
To place the Faculty of Agriculture at the forefront of training, research and development, manpower development for national and regional growth and development while producing and processing food products to feed the immediate community and beyond.