My interest in agriculture is not particularly a story of passion since childhood, but rather sterns from my experience with my father in his farm and continuous study in a quest to increase crop productivity at his farm. An article published by an American publishing company, Science Daily, April 17, 2014 on the relationship between agriculture and increasing world population; a statement made by prof. Fred Davies who was a senior advisor to the USAID at that time changed my life forever.
It now became a driving force from that day that agriculture is the field of the future. I wanted to be an element of innovation in this field, and in order to excel in this revolutionary work place of tomorrow, one has to acquire the requisite knowledge needed to explore new advances in agriculture. My focus shifted and fixed on getting more knowledgeable in agriculture, knowing that combining both theoretical and practical experience is just the tool needed to start in my newly found path. To meet up with recent progress in agriculture and future advances, I needed a study environment that has the necessary facilities to help me nurture my idea.
My pursuit for world happiness led me to Tel Aviv University for a short course under the sponsorship of Benson Idahosa University from where on completion of my course did a scholarship interview to take a master degree in Plant science with an emphasis on food security and safety under the sponsorship of AICAT of which I finally got.
My experience so far in AICAT in the Arava has been amazing and it really focuses on what and how I planned to acquire knowledge. AICAT has done a wonderful job in providing us with a “learning by doing” approach. They provide us with a theoretical experience in the classrooms which is solely overseen by Tel Aviv University, and then practical experience, giving us the opportunity to work closely with Israeli farmers here in the arava. We do not just learn, but AICAT has joint collaborative relationships with many other institutions that focuses on giving us the very best, living almost no knowledge wasted. This has been particularly interesting for me because apart from just studying, we actually get to have one year and 6 months’ work experience in our desired field of study to support our degree.
It became even better when we were paired with research scientists that has contributed to scientific innovation in agriculture in Israel, working with them in specific projects to strengthen the agriculture here in Israel. This in itself gave us a better idea of how working in the laboratory can be. Especially for those of us who wish to be research scientists in the near future. It also helped us understand the importance of research and development (R&D) in sustainable agriculture.
The AICAT slogan is “AGRICULTURE WITHOUT BORDERS”. This is particularly true because I have gotten to meet with students from other countries, some in the same class as I am and many others in separate programs. The relationship this program has helped me built is particularly important because it will only take minds from different cultures to solve poverty, hunger and global food crisis.
For me this program is a total robust package.
My near future plan is to become a farmer using the knowledge and experience gained from this program to create food for the Nigerian population and eventually the world. Also, contributing to making Nigeria a self sufficient country again, giving us the opportunity to contribute to the fight against the predicted world food crisis in the future.
Endurance P. Ojo