The federal government has said undergraduates of agriculture universities must own viable farmlands on campus from 200-level till graduation.
Audu Ogbeh, the minister of agriculture and rural development, gave the directive during a meeting with members of the governing councils of federal universities of agriculture in Abuja on Tuesday.
“Every undergraduate must- and I repeat- must own a farm on campus from 200 level. We are training high level young farmers who, even before graduating, should have started earning a living,” he said.
“We should be training graduates who should be going straight into production, with credit support from their alma-mata, produce chicken, eggs, goats, milk, set up meat laboratories, bake bread and above all produce and sell large quantities of high quality hybrid seeds.”
He also directed the universities to establish colleges of nutrition and medical sciences in their institutions.
The minister said that the revival or establishment of the colleges was necessary to improve the health status of the citizens and reduce the growing cases of ailments in the country.
According to him, most of the ailments we suffer in life have to do with what we eat or fail to eat.
“One area in which we will give you increasing support is the area of nutrition. I know some of you already have schools of medical sciences,” he said.
“You may have to re-designate these schools of medical sciences as schools or colleges of nutrition and medical sciences.
“We don’t eat well in Africa. We eat too much carbohydrate and pay less attention to vitamins and proteins, and so most of the life expectancy issues we suffer have to do with our diet.
“Even the way we grow and process our food; the fertilisers we apply, the harvesting, the storage and packaging methods; all of them have very serious consequences on our lifestyle.
“Nobody is better placed than university professors and teachers to teach the rest of us how to eat and how not to eat.
“This is a very big subject that I will like you to work on and those of you who already have the colleges in their institutions should revive them immediately and get them working,’’ the minister said.
Ogbeh said the federal government did not have any intention to cancel non-agriculture courses or expel those students who were not studying agriculture-based courses in the institutions.
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