Sorry it coming late ( but hey! its better late than never). This is our work space at the Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti. Located in Ekiti state, Nigeria.
So today I decided to visit a poultry close by and interact with the spectacular people who have dedicated their lives to ensure that we have chicken, turkey, ducks, eggs and so on to eat. I got to the poultry around 12 noon after running some errands for my parents ( they didn’t care that I just go back from school two days ago).
As I entered the poultry I was greeted with the smell of bird feed and shit, this reassured me that I was in the right place. I walked to a shed and saw an old man probably in his late 60's and greeted him. He was quite sceptical when he saw me but he returned the greeting, we had an engaging conversation about how he obtained the information he needed to run his poultry. Our conversation is as follows, note that "Ose" means old man in Isoko and Urhobo language.
Me: I would like to as you some questions
Ose: * in a hostile tone* why must you ask me questions
I then told him about my team project and explained to him how important his experience and answers to questions where important to me.
Ose: *smiling* go ahead, ask me your questions
Me: How long have you been into agriculture and poultry ?
Ose: about 30 years as the owner of a poultry but I started learning from my father when I was a teenager, so you can say my entire life.
Me: How to you obtain information you need in running your poultry ?
Ose: well, *looks up* information is shared amongst farmers through veterinary personnel, poultry seminars, training through institutes but the training is expensive and only about one percent of poultry personnel attend.
Me: how often are these seminars held
Ose: mostly twice a year
Me: is the process stressful ?
Ose: no, it's easily accessible
Me: if there was a platform where you could access these information any time you need it instead of waiting for the other methods would you use it ?
Ose: of course, but it depends on how available the platform is
Me: it is free, all you need is internet service
Ose: yes I would use it
Me: do you think of you have better access to information that your level of productivity would increase ?
Ose: yes, it would.
Throughout our conversation ( of course I didn’t type every single word he said) what fascinated me the most was how he was aware of the use of IT in farming. He gave advice and tips on some agricultural issues. He also kept on lamenting on the problem agriculture is facing in Nigeria, on how there is lack of data in the ministry of agriculture and on how the poultry attendant is the most important person in the entire poultry but yet he is mostly the most untrained person there.
How every the most memorable moment of the interview was how he was scolding me on how to ask better questions and the encouragement he gave to me and he also told me that when the platform is ready he would love to use it
"Life is neither static nor unchanging. With no individuality, there can be no change, no adaptation and, in an inherently changing world, any species unable to adapt is also doomed." - Jean M. Auel
As change keeps occurring in the world it is paramount that we adapt to this change in such a way that we can make the best if it. One of the biggest change we are experiencing today is climate change. Climate simply is the weather condition of a region for over a period of 35 years; as the name implies climate change is a change or pronounced difference in the climate of that region. While this doesn't sound bad, it actually is because for a very long period of time the individuals living in that region have been able to study the weather condition and design plans based on the climate; plans like when to plant and when to harvest. Unfortunately for these individuals the change is already in motion and what we can do is to study this change and find ways of adapting to this change. Around the world studies on the change are being carried out and some of the results are astonishing and have given useful information regarding agriculture.
This information is as good as useless if farmers cannot assess this information. Think about it for a moment; a farmer plants his crop ( maize for example) during the normal planting season but because of climate change his crops don't grow well due to unprecedented rainfall or lack of adequate rainfall. This would lead to low crop yield as compared to previous years. He tries planting the next planting season he is used to and the same thing happens again.
But imagine that this farmer has a means to access valuable and accurate information about new cultivation methods for maize based on the climate change in his particular region or ways of improving his crop yield or advanced pest control this would lead to an increase in the crop yield for than year. If a multiplier effect is accounted for in that region there will be an increase in crop yield thus implying that there will be enough food to feed the people on that community. So join us a we facilitate the reach of agricultural education to farmer.