MOUAU Extension Centre (MEC) was established in 2007 by Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, to actualize the goal of the University in being a catalyst in rural development. The philosophy of MEC is that the majority of our farmers are poor, the causes of the wide-spread poverty are complex and multidimensional. Alleviation of poverty therefore cannot be achieved by the dissemination of technologies to them alone. Other aspects of their socio-economic lives like health, education, women and youth empowerment, must also be improved upon through external intervention. Therefore, MEC adopts a holistic approach to extension services.Thus, MEC is the arm of the University charged with the responsibility of transferring technologies from the University and other sources, to our farmers for the purpose of their socio-economic development.
The vision of MEC is to extend knowledge based research initiative that would develop our farming communities and ensure food security in line with the institutional mandate of the University.
The mission of MOUAU Extension Centre is to ensure that farmers and their households have the necessary technological information in the relevant areas of agriculture that would bring about increased production capacity among farmers and their households and improve their wellbeing and the entire society.
The broad mandate of the Centre is to ensure that farmers and other rural dwellers and their households receive relevant information that would increase their production capacity, improve their well-being and lift them out of the poverty trap. The specific mandate of the Centre is to;
· Select some communities for extension intervention as demonstration platforms.
· Continually interact with farmers and rural dwellers and their households for the purpose of identifying their production, processing and other socio-economic constraints with the aim of providing appropriate science-based solutions to them. In this regards, women-in-agriculture is given special attention.
· Bring to the knowledge of the communities, relevant and timely innovations that would improve their development activities.
· Training farmers and other stakeholders in the methods of utilizing technologies made available to them.
· Provide model farm centers for testing and demonstrating improved technologies to farmers.
· Provide train-the-trainer programmes for the rural development in south-east agro-ecological zone and then, the entire Nation.
The major goal of MOUAU Extension Centre is to implement committed farmer-oriented outreach extension service and sustainable development in the South-East/ South-South geographical zones made up of nine (9) states namely Abia, Akwa Ibom, Anambra, Bayelsa, Ebonyi, Edo, Enugu, Imo and Rivers States. Carry out Agricultural Extension Research Linkages with relevant Federal and State Ministries, Research Institutes, Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP), Primary Agricultural Producers, Communities, Local Government Departments of Agriculture based organizations, Universities and any other research organizations.
i. Carry out Agricultural Extension Research Linkages with relevant Federal and State Ministries, Research Institutes, Agricultural Development Programmes (ADP).
ii. Identify problems of agricultural and rural development as well as food security programmes and activities in the South-East and South-South, Nigeria; and proffer solutions to them.
iii. Organize training for extension personnel and farmer groups on all areas of agricultural production and good family life.
iv. Develop extension strategies for tackling the problems of access and utilization of critical production resources among farmers.
1. Women and Youth Development:
This involves Skill Acquisition, Establishment of Agric-business (Eg. Fishery production for youths in Amakama Olokoro zone), training, farm demonstration and workshops. Others include, economic empowerment, cooperative societies and group formations.
2. Demonstration Farms Establishment:
The Centre establishes On-Farm plots to facilitate the adaptation and adoption of relevant technologies to serve as laboratory for the testing of new technologies. This serves as “Lab-to-Land” programme.
3. Health and Nutrition Services:
MEC delivers monthly clinical services in each of the three zones of Abia State: our medical doctors, nurses and nutritionists have consultation days in the month in each of the communities. Our target is to reduce the incidence of malaria to the barest minimum. Efforts should be in progress to interface with agencies that are involved in the Roll Back Malaria Campaign for assistance in the area of drug provision. Health and nutrition services also involve the sensitization of the farmers, especially the women and youths on the need for a proper health care management and basic balanced diet consumption. Capacity building on agricultural food production practices, food processing, value addition techniques, storage and utilization are also covered in this programme.
4. Community/Farm Visits:
Farmers are sensitized and educated in each community on resource mobilization, and the adoption of relevant technologies.
5. Collaboration with Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Relevant Research Institutes, other Universities of Agriculture and other Agencies:
In the workable linkage mechanism of MEC, we do collaborate with the above-mentioned institutions and agencies in implementing On-Farm-Adaptive Research (OFAR) activities. Under this arrangement, MEC will participate in Research Extension Farmer Input Linkage System (REFILS) activities and the National Council on Agriculture (NCA).
MEC is involved in agricultural media and audio-visual production, relevant information retrieval and extension communication services. We produce newsletter, pamphlets and videos on the technologies we disseminate to farmers.
Adoption of model villages and communities is MEC’s strategy for achieving its mandate. MEC has, in its critical engagement, selected in the three agricultural zones of Abia State – Umuahia, Ohiafia and Aba zones respectively. These villages and communities are;
Emede Ubani Ibeku
Umuahaia South LGA
Umuahia North LGA
Umuokwa akoli imenyi
Ndiwom Etiti-Ama Nkporo
Egwuomwu Etiti-Ama Nkporo
Isiala Ngwa North LGA
Isiala Ngwa South LGA
Some of the achievements recorded by MEC include;
1. Establishment of functional model communities.
2. Provision of loans and grants to farmers to establish agribusiness.
3. Mobilization of youth and the women groups for re-orientation and empowerment.
4. Reduction in malaria scourge and malnutrition through our medical services and health and nutritional intervention.
5. Collaboration with national and international organizations in poverty alleviation.
6. Organization of training workshops for farmer groups from all the zones in Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states.
7. Distribution of inputs like fertilizers (NPK 20:10:10), maize and rice seeds to our farmers in the agricultural zones of Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi States in collaboration with WAAPP.
8. Establishing of a 3 hectares demonstration farm at the university land in Olokoro.
· Training of the adopted farmers on improved agricultural technologies in Abia, Enugu and Ebonyi states.
· Sensitization of the rural famers on improved inputs and planting practices.