The Vice-Chancellor of Ajayi Crowther University, Prof. Timothy Adebayo, has advised scholars in the study of agricultural science to rebuild the rural sociology component in the curriculum in order to stimulate students and researchers’ interest in the sociological implications of agricultural research.
Adebayo made the call while delivering a paper as a guest lecturer in commemoration of the 12th annual faculty week of the Faculty of Agriculture, Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, on Thursday.
In the lecture titled, ‘Back to the Roots: On the Need for Repatriating Entrepreneurship and Development to the Rurality’, he highlighted the ills in heavy reliance on other nations for food supplies, while also pointing out that degradation of the ecosystem, climate change, natural disaster, and war are some of the prominent factors capable of cutting off the supply of food and other agricultural products to countries that need them.
He said, “I wish to use the opportunity to ask all of us to get back to our roots. To avoid any obfuscation, I mean getting back to our villages, and becoming farmers once more, for the world is being threatened in a totally undeniable dimension at the moment, and human existence is at the brink of a precipice.
“It may all end sooner than is being projected with the degradation that is happening to our ecosystems, the climate change, which we now understand to be an unrelenting assault on the earth and its resources. Let us not even comment about the possibility of a nuclear war.
“But we can start doing something about our present predicament. For us in Nigeria, the picture is more dire, as we seem to have advanced ahead of much of the rest of the world in not being able to feed ourselves anymore.
“Today Nigeria, like much of the rest of the African continent, faces a grave socio-economic crisis. Central to this crisis is the near collapse of the agrarian sector in Nigeria. Once major exporters of agricultural commodities to the world, Nigerians, like many other Africans, have now become unable to produce enough food to feed themselves.”
The ACU VC recalled that in 2016, Nigeria took over from India the title of being the poverty capital of the world. He added that despite relinquishing the title in 2022, a World Bank document pointed out that in 2020, three million Nigerians were consigned to poverty.
He said insurgency in the northern part of Nigeria has had an adverse effect on food supplies to the southern part and Chad Republic which also relies on Nigeria for food survival.
He said, “Our villages have become vulnerable to famine. Their condition is the ultimate measure of our development ranking. The hunger in our towns and cities is only derivative of the hunger in our villages.
‘The role of faculties of agriculture in our universities cannot be overemphasized. Their role lies in training and reproducing the critical mass of rural activists to work for the entrenchment of the double paradigm of business and development in the villages.
“I will like to conclude with a proposal about the curriculum. I want to make a special case for rural sociology in the curriculum, a case that we retool the rural sociology component in the curriculum so that every agricultural scientist and student of agriculture should develop an interest more or less in the rural sociological implications of their research.”