The Division of Agricultural Colleges (DAC), Ahmadu Bello University, has conferred a total of 458 National Diplomas and 707 Higher National Diplomas on deserving graduates for the 2015/2016, 2016/2017 and 2017/2018 academic sessions.
The conferment of the diplomas on those who completed their various courses of study and were found worthy of character and learning, took place at College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Mando at the weekend during DAC's 33rd Joint Convocation Ceremony.
Of the 1165 graduands, 38 have distinction, 827 credit and 300 pass; and they included men and women of different age groups. They earned their diplomas in diverse fields of Agriculture that included agricultural technology, agricultural extension, agricultural engineering, pasture and range management, home and rural economics, horticulture and animal science.
Prizes were given to the overall best students numbering 18 that cut across three colleges who were presented with plaques and certificates by the Vice-Chancellor, Ahmadu Bello University and Chairman, Board of Governors,
Division of Agricultural Colleges, Prof Ibrahim Garba.
Conferring the diplomas on the deserving graduands, the Vice- Chancellor, congratulated them on successful completion of their studies and wished them success in their future endeavour.
He reminded them that with their graduation they had become alumni of the Division of Agricultural Colleges and should therefore see
themselves as members of the larger family of Ahmadu Bello University.
“It is incumbent upon you to be good ambassadors of the Division and Ahmadu Bello University wherever you find yourselves. I urge you to use the skills, knowledge and training you acquired in meeting the new challenges you are going to face in the larger society”, he said.
The Vice-Chancellor also noted that the Division and the University had continued to discharge their mandate of teaching, research and community service, and had from inception, continued to train men and women without any distinction on grounds of race, religion or political beliefs.
He said since its inception the Division, which comprised three colleges – Samaru College of Agriculture, College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Kaduna and Kabba College of Agriculture grew both in size and scope of the programmes they run to cater for the dynamic needs in agricultural technical manpower of the northern region of the country.
The Vice-Chancellor expressed happiness that the colleges under the Division had very low level of social vices among students, such as cultism, sexual harassment and examination malpractice.
Also speaking at the well-attended ceremony, the Director, Division of Agricultural Colleges, Prof N D G Ibrahim, said the primary function of the Division was to coordinate the academic activities of the three colleges which ran various courses in agriculture at both pre-ND, ND and HND levels.
While congratulating the graduands, their parents, guardians, provosts, teaching and non-teaching staff for their hard work, sacrifices and mentoring, the Director explained that efforts were being made by the Division to address evolving needs of its colleges through introduction of new programmes and collaborations in line with national agricultural extension services and its value addition to farmers.
He said the Division's collaboration and linkages were contributing remarkably to their knowledge of new technologies in the competitive international agricultural and extension needs of the nation, saying in 2018 the Samaru College of Agriculture, for example, introduced a certificate course in fisheries technology which had already graduated 80 students empowering them as part of their entrepreneurial programmes.
The Director also said ANAKH Hatcheries and Livestock Development Company, Kaduna intended to enter into hatchery and breeder development partnership with College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Mando. He
disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Agriculture through its Pasture Development Unit had voluntarily decided to develop five hectares of pasture land for the college in addition to digging five boreholes that would be solar energy powered.
As part of its training programmes, he said, the Division had collaboration with German NGO (GIZ) Deutsche Gesellschaft Fur International Zusammenarbeit of the German Society for International Cooperation on capacity building for staff and students in different sectors of agriculture.
The Director listed other linkages to include collaborations with Centre for Dry Land Agriculture on Irrigation Technology, International Crops Research Institute for Semi- Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) for research on tropical cereals and legumes, Winrock International USA, and collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria on Anchor Borrower Loan in training of small scale farmers at the College of Agriculture and Animal Science, Mando, Kaduna.
Prof Ibrahim however explained that funding remained the major challenge of the Division, saying there was need for remarkable improvement on the releases and upward review of the budgetary allocation, especially personnel, capital and overhead as they were key to the running of its academic, non-academic and successful completion of its capital projects.
According to him, the Division was still following up on re- engagement of its colleges and other mono poly techniques into the Tetfund grants, expressing hope that the National Assembly would fast track approval for re-engagement of the monotechniques to be among the beneficiaries of the fund.
One of the highpoints of the event was staging of a drama by students of Department of Theatre and Performing Arts on DAC's training programmes incorporating business skills as part of effort to reduce the challenges of unemployment in the country.