“EDUCATION IS THE BEDROCK OF A NATION”
This statement gives evidence to the pact that knowledge is power and this is an essential ingredient nutrient required by any nation for development and growth. With the rapid increase in human population and decrease in the world food production, it is vital that agriculture should be held at a high esteem which is the only solution to this problem. Also necessary measures should be put in place in the area of food storage and preservation to help reduce post harvest losses. It is in this light that agriculture as a course was established in schools. Agriculture is a practical course and does not end up in the classroom practical’s holds the key in agriculture hence the mandatory field practical braining for all agriculture students to bridge theory with practical.
To have an adequate knowledge of the course, the course, the practical aspect cannot be over emphasized. The Field Practical Training (FPT) is a program undertaken by every 400 level students of agriculture in all Nigerian Universities as a pre – requisite for the qualification of a Bachelor Degree in Agricultural disciplines. FPT was introduced to complement the theoretical aspect of agriculture practices. This is so, because it is imperative that students of agriculture have a practical experience in order to be self dependent and self employed. With the escalating increase in the population rise in demand for food, there is need for well trained farmers who would make up the bridge and improve food security in the country.
The importance of this programme is to enable students have a practical knowledge in the field of agriculture so that they can help reduce the high rate of unemployment in our societies by being self employed and help reduce the high rate of unemployment in our societies by being self employed and also create employment opportunities for others, as well as to boost food production in Nigeria thereby leading to food security in Nigeria.
1.1 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDENTS INDUSTRIAL WORK EXPERIENCE SCHEME (SIWES)
The objectives of this programme include;
1. To train production graduates in the various areas of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.
2. To produce graduates who will not useful to themselves, but to the public and private sector.
3. To produce graduates who will profitably put their skills into operation by establishing and operating their own farming enterprises.
4. To enable students of agriculture see the promising prospect of their profession.
5. To expose the students to different factors that determines the success and failure of the production of agricultural produce.
1.2 BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ESTABLISHMENT BACKGROUND
National Root Crops Research institute, Umudike, Started in 1st January, 1923, on a 122 hectare land as a provincial research farm under the Nigeria Department of Agriculture with headquarters at moor plantation, Ibadan following regionalization in 1955, it came under the Eastern Region Ministry of Agriculture was established and located close to the research farm. Subsequent acquisition of 165 hectares in 1960/61, 162 hectares in 1965 and some swamp land in 1974/75 brought the total area to 418 hectares in 1965 the research farm became known as the Eastern Nigeria Agricultural Research Station (ENARS). Both the Research Agricultural Research station and the school were merged in 1965 and called Research and Training Station (FARTS). On April 1st 1972, the Federal Government took over the station and re – named it the Federal Agricultural Research and Training station (FARTS) by the Agriculture research institute decree of 1973, the station came under the Agricultural Research council of Nigeria (ARCN).
The station was upgraded to a commodity research institute in 1975 by the Federal Military Government Decree No 33 and re – named National Root Crops Research Institute (NRCRI) on 1st April, 1976. The institute came under the aegis of National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) by decree No 5 of January 1977. In 1980 it was transferred to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology. Since 1996, the institute has been under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture Rural Development, with the transfer of the college of Agriculture to Ishiagu in Ebonyi State in 1993 and the cession of the area formerly occupied by the college to the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture (MOUA), Umudike, the total area now occupied by the institute is about 308 hectares.
The institute headquarters at Umudike is situated on longitude 07o33’E and latitude 05o29’N at about 8km East of the Umuahia Ikot – Ekpene Road. It is 140km North of Port Harcourt international airport, 135km south of Enugu Airport and 80km East of Owerri Airport. It has sub – stations spread across the country. They occupy a total land area of 600 hectares.
The six Sub – Stations and their Geographical Zones are:
- Kuru, Plateau State North Central Zone
- Otobi, Benue State, North Central Zone
- Igbariam, Anambra State, South East Zone
- Nyanya, karu, Nasarawa State, North Central Zone
- Gussol, Taraba state, North East Zone
- Maro, Kaduna state, North Central Zone
NRCRI collaborates with research and donor agencies at the international, regional, national and local levels. The collaborators include the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Ibadan, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Rome; International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Austria, International Plant Genetic Resource Institute (IPGRI), Rome; International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (USDA), USA; International Laboratory for Tropical Agricultural Biotechnology (ILTAB), USA; and National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB), Abuja. Other include Shell Petroleum Development Corporation (SPDC), Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the 9 Agricultural Development Programmes (ADPS) in the South East agro ecological zone of the country, faculties of Agriculture in the South – East University such as Michael Okpara University of Agriculture Umudike; Federal University of Technology Owerri; University of Calabar, University of Uyo and University of Nigeria Nsukka. Also included are the West and Central Africa Regional Development (WECARD), Strategic Food Reserves (SFR) Abuja, NGOs, as well as the World Bank and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
The institute has the national mandate for
i. Research into the genetic improvement, production, processing, storage, utilization and marketing of root and tuber crops of economic importance namely yam, cassava, potato, sweet potato, cocoyam, ginger, and other root crops such as Hausa potato, rizger turmeric, sugar beet and radish.
ii. Research into the farming systems of South – East agro – ecological zone of Nigeria in order to improve the standard of living of the resource poor farmers. The zone covers Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, cross river, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and rivers states. Executing this farming system mandate also implies integration of fisheries, livestock and agro – forestry component into the arable crops production system.
iii. Agriculture extension delivery to farming in the south east Agro – ecological zone in liaison with relevant federal and state ministries industries and companies, NGOs (non - governmental organizations) and other user of research result in collaboration with the national agricultural extension
Research and Liaison Service (NAERLS)
1.6 MISSION STATEMENT/ VISSION
The mission statement/vision of the nation root crops research institute is to provide the necessary environment for the production, processing and marketing of value added production from root and tuber crop for national food security, income generation, gainful employment and industrial development.
The national Root Crop Research Institute (NRCRI) is organized in such a manner as to enable it fulfill its national its national mandate. It is administration supervises in a governing board which is accountable to the minister of agriculture and Rural Development. The board is responsible for policy initiatives which the director of the institute, as the chief executive is responsible for day to day running of the institute. The Director is assisted by Assistant Director Internal Management Committee (IMC).
PERFORMANCES ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION OF THE ORGANIZATION
The National Root Crop Research Institute Umudike has very reason to pride itself as the leading Agricultural Research Institute in Nigeria. This is because since its inception in 1923 it has continued to leave up to its expectations as for as research into roots and tuber crop is concerned.
The efforts of the scientific research officers of the institute have helped to put Nigeria as one of the world’s leading cassava, yam, cocoyam and potato producing countries in the world today.
The development of ministering techniques for rapid multiplication of yam and cassava has help farmers in alleviating the problem of inadequate planting materials.
In the area of breeding, the institute has so far released 17 cassava varieties for farmers, used thereby alleviating the problem of late maturity and susceptibility to pest and disease.
In the area of post harvest technology, the production of cassava flour for odourless Fufu. The making cocoyam chips as snacks and cassava root meal and pellets for livestock feed put them ahead of other.
The efforts of extension workers who ensures that news about the new technologies and innovations in roots and tubes crops based systems are properly disseminated 70 farmers are not left out in the institute’s achievement.
The institute has over 1000 staff including over 40 PhD holders, numerous Msc. B Agric and HND holders referred to as scientific staff, support staff and administrative staff.
4.2 STAFF CONTROL, DISCIPLINE AND INCENTIVES
The institute has outstanding disciplined committee who makes sure that an earring staff is disciplined appropriately if the offence committee is mild. He person will be warned orally by the senior personnel who the staff is under or will be given query but if not the person will be suspended while the disciplinary committee looks into the case.
4.3 TECHNICAL ASPECT
The national root crops research institute, Umudike is really trying in providing the required structures, machines and equipments, plans other working materials used for research. Notwithstanding, more is needed for effective production and research findings and this is why the governing board of the institute recently embarked on supervisor of the headquarters at Umudike and its branches nationwide to know the area that needs attention.
4.4 MANPOWER AND SKILLS
The institute is currently employing over 40 PhD holders. The first degree and masters holders and also working towards finishing their degree (PhD). The institute also encourages those who have distinguished themselves in terms of dedication of service and/or research by assisting them to further research or acquire more skills abroad.
Nonetheless, the institute needs to absorb more research officers so as to effectively utilize the available materials.
In addition, the institute organizes short times courses to train farmers and extension agents the Federal College of Agriculture; Ishiage Ebonyi State is the training wing or arm of the research institute. The college which was relocated to Ishiagu from Umudike in 1993, trains students both at National and Higher National Diploma levels, there by middle level manpower to the nation. It also organizes short courses to train farmers and extension agents. The school is currently undertaking the following courses:
A. Preliminary National Diploma (Pre – ND), in Science and Technology.
B. National Diploma (ND) in general agriculture
C. Higher National diploma (HND) in
(i) Animal production
(ii) Crop Production
(iii) Pest Management Technology
(iv) Agriculture Extension
(v) Horticulture and Landscape Technology
4.5 MANAGERIAL ASPECT
Each of the units and division in the institute has befitting structures and required working materials, tools, machines and equipment. Each unit or programme also has a director and assistant director who coordinated the research and other activities going on there. The director, assistant director or HOD in any division is accountable to higher authority with the executive director (Dr. K. I. Nwosu) at the help of affairs. When the machines in any unit have fault, technicians and/or engineers are invited to repair them through an application from the head of such unit to the head of engineering department. Some units like the soil science laboratory unit has a technician attached to them.
4.6 FINANCIAL ASPECT
The funding of the research institute both for research, researcher, salaries, etc, is being carried out by the federal government of Nigeria. The funds released by the federal government is utilized adequately in renovation works, expansion of research scope of the institute and in the production of Agriculture products, extension to farmers in the urban and rural areas of the country and most importantly in raising the farmers standard of living.
5.0 PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED DURING SIWES - PROGRAMMES
As we all know that man cannot live without problems I encountered numerous problems during my stay at NRCRI Umudike which includes.
i. Finance: This was as a result of nonpayment of allowances to student on SIWES program by the institute.
ii. The problem of accommodation made many of us to either squall with students of moue Umudike or rent houses in the town at a cut throat price.
iii. The problem of lack of cooperation by some of the staff to student.
iv. Some of the staff are trainee and either give us wrong information or confuse us, Which took us much time to consult the experts for correction.
Having stayed in the institute for more than six months, I hereby recommend as follows:
1. All outdated (e.g., the microscope in the plant protection laboratory and one centrifuge in the soil science laboratory) should be replaced by the federal government of enhance quality) federal government to research findings.
2. Serious disciplinary action should be taken on ghost workers and those that are serious with their work.
3. More offices and residential lodge should be constructed to encourage the workers. The scientists and other workers within the institute lodge will help them to be more focused.
4. The Federal Government of Nigeria should also encourage the I.T. student by providing them with some stipends or accommodations because the students are future researchers of Nigerians and have so many potentials.
5. Finally, I will like to advise other students who are yet to do such at the National Root Crops Research Institute Umudikes for knowledge acquisition supersedes money.
The 2012/2013 academic session field practical training programme was educative, enlightening and practical oriented. The holistic learning approach agricultural production, crop production and soil science. The training to the outstations was an eye opener to the practical applications of the knowledge that had been acquired within the confines of the lecture.
Most importantly, the training period has enabled me to secure a job upon graduation. Conclusively, what I have gained from the NRCRI – Umudike, both academically and otherwise cannot be overemphasized. To this junction, may I finalized by saying that Nation Root Crops Research Umudike is qualified for training student both in theory and practice.
A TECHNICAL REPORT ON
STUDENTS INDUSTRIAL WORK EXPERIENCE SCHEME (SIWES)
CARRIED OUT AT
NATIONAL ROOT CROPS RESEARCH INSTITUTE (NRCRI) UMUDIKE, ABIA STATE
DEPARTMENT OF CROP PRODUCTION AND LANDSCAPE MANAGEMENT
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE COURSE INDUSTRIAL TRAINING (AGR 402)