The University of Agriculture, Abeokuta was established on January 1, 1988 by the Federal Government of Nigeria with a tripodal mandate for teaching, research and extension. The University engages in training of production oriented agricultural graduates which equips them to be job creators rather than job seekers. To achieve this, the University entrenched farm practical curriculum in the B. Agriculture programme between 300 level and 400 level. The peak of the training is the mandatory six months exclusive farm practical year programme (FPY) at the penultimate year of the B.Agric programme which objectives are to:
1) Expose the students to work methods, tools, techniques and practices not taught in the theory class.
2) Bringing trainees in direct contact with farm staff and local farmers to obtain first hand information on farming conditions and problems.
3) Acquire knowledge by trainees that will enhance their smooth transition from school to reality of life after school.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF THE FARM PRACTICAL YEAR PROGRAMME
The Farm Practical Year (FPY) programme was founded on the philosophy that the training programme will afford the trainees the opportunity to “learn by doing” by undertaking practical farming activities on both crop and livestock sections of the University. In the original concept of FPY, it was designed that trainees otherwise known as interns would be seconded to farms or agriculture related industries for the period of six months during which University supervisors would visit to evaluate them. The initial hiccup in securing places for all the students led to a rethink that engaging trainees on the University farms would be more effective rather than allowing them to roam about towns and loosing time in search of potential places for attachment.
The Federal Government recently directed that FPY programme be extended to one year from the six months previously in practice. It therefore, became necessary to review the institutional design of the whole programe. To gainfully engage the students for one year and for the communities in the catchment areas to benefit from the activities of the University, it was proposed that the Farm Practical Year programme be upscaled to Community-Based Farming Scheme. For effective coordination and efficient management, the existing supervisory team under the Teaching Farm Management Committee was involved by the Centre for Community-Based Farming Scheme (COBFAS).