Rural Development and Agricultural Extension Department:
Food security is the pressing concern for Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular. Even though agriculture is being practiced in most parts of the country, the minimum food energy requirement was not even assured. Several million school children are still malnourished, and many others suffer from disease and hunger. Agriculture still is found to be the starting point for initiating structural transformation of the economy. As a result, ADLI (Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization) is pursued as major policy framework. ADLI forms its base on food security and poverty reduction strategies where the demand for skilled manpower is very critical in implementing the strategy. In this regard, Ethiopian higher education institutions have been playing a key role in training such professionals in Agriculture and development.
Given a predominant agrarian society, ADLI focuses on the development of the rural sector. The adoption of ADLI presupposes productivity enhancement of smallholder agriculture followed by industrialization through utilization of domestic raw materials via adopting labor intensive technology. This obviously calls for innovative education for rural development. However, agricultural extension services within the ministry of agriculture as well as other agricultural related governmental and nongovernmental organizations are by large covered by Para-professionals who are graduates of other agricultural fields. Most of the rural development and agricultural extension workers are diploma holders with long field experience and /or short term training. Moreover, in view of the ratio of the total number of extension personnel on duty to number of farmers in the country, much needs to be done to produce qualified rural development and agricultural extension personnel. It is under this premises that the current curriculum has been proposed.
- BSc in Rural Development and Agricultural Extension
The development objectives of the undergraduate program in rural development and agricultural extension is to facilitate pro-poor, gender sensitive and ecologically sound agricultural and rural development by producing educated human resource in rural development and agricultural extension. More specifically, the program will assist in professionalizing and improving the effectiveness and efficiency of interventions for agricultural development in Ethiopia by supplying the country with creative, dynamic and professional change agents who upon their graduation can serve various organizations addressing the emerging issues in development in an effective manner. It will, in turn, help to improve the life of the masses in rural areas of the country whose problems are much intertwined with cultural, socio-economic, institutional and situational issues as well. Application of technological inputs with a clear understanding of the social framework can invariably bring about significant and desirable changes in the community and this endeavor is expected to facilitate that objective.