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The University of Agriculture, Makurdi (UAM) is one of the two Universities of Agriculture established by the Federal Government in January, 1988. A third one was added in 1993. UAM succeeded the Makurdi Campus of the University of Jos (established in 1984), which in turn had succeeded the former Federal University of Technology, Makurdi (established in 1980). The University was set up to pioneer new institutional approaches to the generation and dissemination of new agricultural technologies.
The University of Agriculture, Makurdi was established against the background of an existing network of faculties of Agriculture in about 24 Federal owned general Universities and 14 State -owned Universities; 18 autonomous agricultural research institutions; extension services of the Agricultural Development Projects and a multiplicity of tertiary institutions offering sub-degree programmes in agriculture.
University of Agriculture, Makurdi is located in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State of Nigeria, a State generally known as the "Food Basket" of Nigeria. The ecology of Benue State supports extensive arable cropping and livestock production as well as fruit, palm, grains, legumes, root and tuber production. Benue State falls within the coordinates 7o47' and 10o00' East, 6o25' and 8o8' North.
Sited on the bank of River Benue, and located about 300km South of the Federal Capital, Abuja and 800km North of the commercial city of Lagos; University of Agriculture, Makurdi occupies an arable land area of 8,048 hectares thus making it the largest holder of agricultural land mass amongst institutions of its kind. By federal operational policy, the UAM mandate covers over 60% of Nigeria with nineteen (19) Northern states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory as its catchment area.
As one of three national specialist agricultural universities, the University of Agriculture, Makurdi was established by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 1988 with a specific mission and mandate for scientific transformation of traditional agriculture and to accelerate the drive towards national food self-sufficiency. The University is to achieve the aforementioned by:
The underlying philosophy is that the average Nigerian farmer should have easy access to the fruits of scientific agriculture. This means that the University scientific community must work on the key practical problems of village farmers. Also, the students, to become useful and effective extension agents must be adequately exposed to the discipline of practical farm planning, production and marketing and a period of supervised farming internship at the village level. The basic philosophy then is the democratization and liberalization of the scientific transformation of Nigerian agriculture, with small-scale farmers in the vanguard.
In the execution of its primary mandate and mission, the University of Agriculture, Makurdi is expected to introduce innovative and revolutionary approaches to agricultural research, extension and training.
These include among others:
Development of strong disciplinary core, with emphasis on applications in the general areas of crop production and husbandry; animal production and veterinary sciences; agricultural economics, rural sociology and home economies; agricultural engineering and technology; basic sciences and general studies, to provide strong training for the large number of subject-matter specialists required at all levels;
Development of a virile outreach and extension services based on a two way "LAB-TO-LAND" strategy aimed at promptly conveying research results from researchers' laboratories to farmers' fields and for relaying farmers' field problems to researchers in the University.
Development of a revitalized and recognized co-operative extension system jointly operated by the State Ministries of Agriculture, the World Bank-assisted Agricultural Development Project (ADPs) and other agencies on one hand, and the outreach programmes of the University of Agriculture, Makurdi on the other, with emphasis on the development of a core subject-matter specialists;
Cultivation of research linkages between the 18 agricultural research institutes and the outreach programmes of the University;
Development of a mission-oriented agricultural research system that focuses on the practical problems of accelerated food and fibre production, storage, processing and utilization through the provision of an innovative package of adequate incentives for career advancement for researchers and extension workers engaged in finding solutions to practical problems of farmers and agro-industrialists;
Concentration on the more applied forms of agricultural research which address pressing practical farm-level problems;
Development of training facilities and communication technologies for imparting new farming skills to Nigerian farmers through on the job training;
Development of strong links between researchers in various disciplines in the University and subject-matter specialists in the University's outreach programme to enhance the practical relevance of faculty research and staff, and finally;
The University of Agriculture, Makurdi, will conduct research and outreach programmes in the areas of storage, preservation, processing and marketing to enhance rural value added, reduce post-harvest losses and translate farm production increases into higher producer income gains for Nigeria's farming majority.