By Olamide Tejuoso
Dear agric student,
You’re still probably in the four walls of your institution of learning; attending classes, taking notes, marking registers, submitting assignments, term papers, writing projects and some times, going to farm. Maybe, agriculture was not even the course you put in for; “oh, for Pete’s sake, what would I do with Agronomy?” you might have cried out upon seeing your admission letter, but then you just want to have the degree or rather planning to “japa” to some other departments later. That’s the plan! Isn’t it? But it does not always work that way. I know for years, any course that has to do with agriculture is most times, degraded.
But come to think of it, five-six-seven years of your life in the field of agriculture couldn’t just be a coincidence! Imagine being asked among a group of friends, who are doctors, lawyers, nurses, and so on; what did you study? Then, you had to say “Agronomy”. How would you feel? Would you confidently say it was worth it that you studied in this field? Honestly, if you are the type that is still sulking over the course you were supposed to be given and the one that you are finally doing, it’s high time you stopped. Martin Luther King (Jr.) once said, “No work is insignificant. All labour that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence”. That agric course you are studying is never a mistake. So, don’t be mistaken that you would never need that course because of what you probably had people tell you, or some other fancy hopes you’re fantasising about.
Farming, like any other professions, is a lucrative business. It just depends on how you handle and manage it. Let’s start with how you’re studying presently, what are you doing beyond just making notes? What career are you considering out-of-farming? There are many realities about agriculture that your mind may not be yet open to, if you do not research or explore. There is a mistake students often make at times, believing that school should teach them all there is to becoming successful in life. However, life itself is a teacher and is a school of patience! School definitely will not teach you everything; and I believe, as an agricultural student, there are steps you need to start taking now, beyond the classroom. This is not to say that school will not always be a part of you; you would never know how far your education will take you. Believe me!
What of if you start with researching major areas in agriculture such as agricultural extension, agricultural economics, agronomy, crop production, aquaculture, horticulture, animal production, etc? How would they give value to your immediate society and the world at large? No matter how fast growing machines are, they can never take over permanently the roles and place of farmers. The reality is that, a lot of lives and destinies hang on the farmers’ production. Have you ever thought, when you graduate, what are you going to do with your certificate? And what will you do with the fact that everyone would always need food? This is but to say that, to your certificates you must add skills! And you are not too young to start.
In fact, being an agricultural science student is an advantage and you would be surprised that many youths in agriculture now did not even study agriculture at all. Don’t just be relaxed being an agricultural student and attending to your class farms alone – start volunteering with successful farms, be connected with professional farms, get more know-how about other areas of agriculture you may not even know about at all. Finally, do your homework well about the challenges facing the sector presently. Agriculture challenges are now beyond hoes and cutlasses. Searching out the problem and proffering solution, is where your breakthrough in what your career journey might be like.
All you have to do, is just to pay the sacrifice of finding out! There are lots of opportunities in the field of agriculture outside cultivating crops and rearing animals. Therefore, seek out opportunities to equip yourself, upgrade your skills, convert knowledge to money and be your own boss. If and when you later find a good place to start: remember the popular Yoruba adage that says; “a good beginning is of no value unless one perseveres to the end, which could also mean, he who perseveres to the end will be rewarded”. Therefore, wake up and smell the coffee!
Yours in agriculture,