Opinion

Career Opportunities in Agriculture as a Profession

By Livinus Nnebedum

Agriculture is a prestigious, noble and lucrative profession and business that can no longer be left in the hands of old men and women in the villages operating with local implements exercising their human muscle and spending a lot of energy. There is improved technology in farming now but government need to make more improvement in areas of farm mechanization, provision of credit and modern storage facilities among many others. Youths and our students do not like to go into farming. It is one of the lucrative Blue – collar jobs existing in the World today. There is need to encourage youths to develop interest in Agriculture.

At this juncture, it is necessary to highlight some of the contributions of Agriculture in the Development of World Economy viz;
· Employment creation and job opportunities.
· Provision of food for growing population.
· Provision of Raw Materials for the Industries.
· Foreign exchange earner
· It is the backbone of Nigerian Economy
· Income generations to many farmers etc.

The Major Career Opportunities in Agriculture include;
· Agricultural Research Institutes eg; International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) at Ibadan, National Root crops Research Institute (NRCRI) Umudike among many others.
· Federal Ministry of Agriculture
· Various States Ministries of Agriculture
· Agricultural Development Programs in 36 States of Nigeria.
· Agricultural Projects/Agencies viz; FADAMA Development Program, IFAD – VALUE Chain Development Program etc.
· Private Organizations engaging in Agriculture.
· Teaching Profession in Secondary Schools, Colleges, Polytechnics and Universities.
· Self – Employment or Private Employment etc

The various areas of specialization in Agriculture include;
· Agricultural Extension
· Agricultural Economics
· Agronomy or Crop Science
· Animal science
· Soil Science
· Food Science and Technology
· Fishery
· Forestry/Agro-Forestry etc

At post-graduate levels from masters to Ph.D, some Nigeria Universities, offer specialized courses like Agricultural Extension and Communication and do core course such as Agricultural Journalism.

It is worthy to note some Universities in Nigeria that offer Agricultural Science. They include;
· University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN).
· Federal University of Technology Owerri (FUTO)
· Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike (MOUAU)
· Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi
· Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
· Nnamdi Azikiwe University (UNIZIK), Awka.
· Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria
· University of Calabar
· Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu University (COOU) Igbariam
· University of Ibadan etc.

Agriculture is the World’s oldest profession. We can refer to Genesis chapter 9 verse 20 where Noah was recognized as the first man on earth to plant the Vine-yard. That was in the Bible our Holy Book. Serious farming, industrialization and education of our children should be given priority to face massive unemployment problems and general Economic crunch and hardship in Nigeria. There is need to farm in order to fight hunger and poverty.

The Nigeria government at various level should pay more attention to development of Agriculture. Religious and honest implementation of all Agricultural program budgets should be in focus. The era of lip-service to Agriculture by the government and the youths should be a thing of the past, infact a forgone issue. Let us face reality and once more place Agriculture in the priority list as the mainstay and backbone of Nigeria Economy.

“God and Nature has placed food and water at 2nd list after Air in order of importance and service in this World. Food is the product of Agriculture and water according to Biology is one of the classes of food. Therefore, in order of priority Nature has made this ranking of necessities of life:
· Air – 1st
· Food and water – 2nd
· Medicine or Drugs – 3rd
· Shelter and Clothing
· Education and Socialization of Human Beings
· Manufacturing Industries to provide goods and services for the living etc”.

Our youths, the present and future generations are advised to make career choice from opportunities available in Agriculture. In addition there are other job opportunities in other areas as they go through their various schools and institutions. As one passes through the University, they should allow the University to pass through them. When the youths are searching for Government White – collar jobs, they should also engage themselves in self – employment and Blue – collar jobs.

Livinus Nnebedum is a visiting Lecturer at Federal College of Education (Technical) Umunze, Anambra State in CEP/weekend.

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