Areas of specialization in Agriculture

Areas of specialization in Agriculture and their importance The following are the different areas.which one can specialize in the study of agriculture

Agriculture encompasses a wide range of activities related to the cultivation of plants and the rearing of animals for various purposes. Here are some key areas of agriculture:

  1. Crop Production: This involves the cultivation of crops such as grains (wheat, rice, corn), vegetables, fruits, oilseeds, fiber crops (cotton, jute), and forage crops (alfalfa, clover). It includes practices like land preparation, planting, irrigation, fertilization, pest control, and harvesting.

Livestock Farming: This involves the raising of animals for various purposes, including meat, milk, eggs, wool, and other animal products. Common livestock include cattle, poultry (chickens, turkeys), pigs, sheep, and goats. Livestock farming includes breeding, feeding, healthcare, and management of animal housing facilities.

  1. Dairy Farming: This focuses specifically on the production of milk and dairy products. It involves the management of dairy cows or other milk-producing animals, milking, milk processing, and product distribution.

Horticulture: Horticulture encompasses the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, and flowers. It includes practices such as plant propagation, greenhouse management, plant nutrition, pest and disease control, and post-harvest handling.

Aquaculture: Also known as fish farming, aquaculture involves the cultivation of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels), and aquatic plants. It includes activities like pond or tank construction, water quality management, feeding, disease control, and harvest.

  1. Agroforestry: Agroforestry integrates the cultivation of trees or woody plants with agricultural crops and/or livestock. It combines elements of forestry and agriculture to promote sustainable land use, soil conservation, and multiple benefits such as timber, fruit, fodder, and environmental services.

Agri-business: This refers to the business aspects of agriculture, including the production, processing, marketing, and distribution of agricultural products. It involves activities such as agricultural machinery manufacturing, agrochemical production, food processing, and agricultural trade.

  1. Agricultural Engineering: Agricultural engineers apply engineering principles and technology to solve agricultural problems. They work on areas such as farm machinery design, irrigation systems, drainage systems, agricultural structures, and environmental management.

Agricultural Research and Development: This field involves scientific research and innovation to improve agricultural practices, crop yields, animal health, and overall agricultural productivity. It includes areas such as plant breeding, genetic engineering, biotechnology, soil science, and sustainable farming methods.

Agricultural Education and Extension: Agricultural education focuses on providing knowledge and training to farmers, students, and professionals in the agricultural sector. Extension services involve disseminating information, best practices, and technical assistance to farmers, promoting adoption of new technologies and improving farming practices.

What are the areas of specialization in agriculture?

1. Soil Science as an area of agriculture
This deals with the study of the soil. It has to do with knowing the nature and types or classes of the soil, how to prepare the soil for crop production and managing the soil in a way that will enhance high yield of crops. A person that studied soil science is called a soil scientist.

2. Animal Science as an area of specialization in  agriculture
This is the study of farm animals. Farm animals are also called livestock.\’

The rearing of livestock or farm animals is referred to as animal husbandry, The animal scientist is the person who studied the different kinds of farm animals, how they grow and reproduce, their food requirement, how to take proper care of the animals so that they would have good conditions favourable for high productivity.

. Crop Science/Agronomy as an area of specialization in agriculture

This area deals with the study of crops, it is concerned with knowing the different kinds of crops and their varieties, the of cultivating them and what they require to grow and produce This area is closely connected with soil science hence universities prefer to use the term agronomy to include soil science and crop science. The agronomist is one who is specialized in crop science.

4. Agricultural Education
This is the study and teaching of agriculture in schools. People who teach agricultural science in schools and colleges are called Agricultural Educators or Agricultural Science Teachers. In universities or other higher institutions, they are called Agricultural Lecturers.

5. Agricultural Extension as one of the areas of specialization in agriculture

This is a very important aspect of agriculture because the development of sound agricultural practices depends on a good extension service. It is mainly concerned with passing information on improved farming techniques to farmers.
The farmers\’ problems are also carried through extension services to research stations for solutions. The people who are trained to carry out agricultural extension services are called Agricultural Extension Officers or agents.
6. Agricultural Economics as one of the areas of specialization in agriculture
Agriculture is a business. .This means that it must be run in a way that profit will always come from it. Agricultural Economics is therefore concerned with the study of how agriculture can be run so that it will be a profitable business.

Agricultural Economics enables the farmer to know what to produce, what to produce, how to produce, and what to do with the farm produce and finally what is the profit. A specialist in this area of agriculture is called Agricultural Economist.
their food, reproduction, requirement, and how to take proper care of the animals so that they would have good conditions favourable for high productivity.

6. Horticulture as an area of agriculture
This deals with the science and art of growing:

(a)fruit (pomology)
(b) Vegetables (Olericulture)
(c) Ornamental plants or flowers (Floriculture).
A person that specializes in horticulture is called Horticulturist.

8. Forestry as an area of agriculture

This is the branch of agriculture that deals with the control and management of forests and forest resources. A forest represents an area of land which is mainly covered_ with trees along with other plant species.

The forestry officer is one who specializes in forest management.

9. Fishery as an area of agriculture

The rearing of fishes and other aquatic organisms in a body of water is termed fishery and they are areas of specialization in agriculture.

Fishery as a course/subject in agriculture studies the different kinds of fishes and other aquatic organisms, and how they are reared, captured, preserved and used. Fishery matters are handled by fishery officers, trained in the fishery.

10. Veterinary Medicine as areas of specialization in agriculture

This is the area that studies the diseases and pests -of farm animals. The veterinarian is one who helps in vaccinating farm animals against diseases and treats them when they are sick. They are often called Veterinary doctors.

11. Agricultural Engineering as areas of specialization in agriculture
This is concerned with the study of farm machinery and their uses. It also includes the maintenance of those machines and implements used on the farm, as well as the construction, use and maintenance of farm structures and buildings.

A specialist in this area is called Agricultural Engineer.
Other areas include Agricultural Journalism, Agricultural Biology, General Agriculture, Agricultural Biochemistry and Nutrition, etc,

Courses in agriculture available in Nigerian Higher Institutions

Agriculture can be studied in any of the following levels of institution:1. Schools of Agriculture and polytechnics
These offer a two-year course leading to the award of the National Diploma (N.D.) some offer a further two-year course leading to the award of the Higher National Diploma (H.N.D).

2. Colleges of Education
These institutions train agricultural science teachers for a three-year duration after which they are awarded the Nigeria Certificate of Education (N.C.E.). areas of specialization in agriculture
3. Universities
Different universities have their faculties of agriculture when different courses are offered leading to the award of any of the following:
(a) B.Sc ( Agric)
(b) B. Agric~
(c) B.Ed(Agric)
To study Agriculture in higher schools in Nigeria, it is advisable to offer and have credit passes, at the senior school certificate examination, Agricultural Science, Biology, Chemistry, English and Mathematics. Other relevant subjects are Physics, Economics and Geography.
Graduates from the different schools and different courses may become any of the following:
(1) Agricultural Officers in Ministries of Agriculture.
(2) Research Officers in Research Stations.
(3) Teachers in secondary schools.
(4) Teachers/Lecturers in -higher institutions.
(5) Managers in commercial farms.
(6) Agricultural loans officers in Banks,
(7) Veterinary doctors.
(8) Public Relations Officers in large Agro-industries or farms.
(9) Agricultural journalists
(10) Agricultural businessmen f
(11) Forestry officers. .
(12) Fishery officers.


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