Students and staff from the City University of Mogadishu, department of Agriculture visited theAgri-Business Incubation Center (ABIC) center, Afgoi on Thursday, June 4th, 2015.
The center is run by Somali Agriculture Technical group (SATG). The students were led by the Head of the Agriculture Department at City University Professor AbdulkadirShirwa(Former Dean of Agriculture at the Somali National University) and other members of the faculty and administration. They were received at ABIC,by SATG team led by Dr. Hussein Mao Haji (Plant Breeder) and Abdulkari Mohamed Abikar (Senior Agronomist).
The students were treated to a tour of different crops grown at ABIC and farmers’ field. The agronomist explained the potential use of innovative agriculture technologies, good agricultural practices and testing new technologies prior to dissemination.
The students then observed the obvious differences in growth and development between plants treated with organic/inorganic fertilizers such as DAP, Urea animal manure and untreated plants. This interventions was intended to overcome the deficiencies in the soil nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous. Other soil conservation measures such as use of optimum plant population, crop rotation, intercropping were thoroughly discussed.Stem borer, locally known as “Dhuunqabad” control measure was also demonstrated to the students using both chemical and natural products such as neem tree oil.
The students then gathered at the SATG Agri-Business Incubation Center facilities and learned about the SATG work in Afgoi, Awdhegle and Balad and the thousands of farmers helped by the SATG projects in both agriculture and livestock. Students had an opportunity to discuss what they have seen and a robust Q&A session followed. Students were then provided with lunch by SATG and engaged in an informal networking and sought the insights of individual farmers and SATG staff.
City university agriculture students enjoy a university owned greenhouse on-campus in Mogadishu and have already harvested several crops in their first year of education. They have learned about drip irrigation, pest control and crop rotation but nothing compared with their experience in the field and the work and expertise of the SATG Team.
Dr. Haji informed that students that in Somalia we produce only about 50% of the maize we consume while the other half is imported. Properly developed, our arable lands can not only meet the local demand for agriproducts but can and should be able to export enough to feed many other countries. Students left the farm, excited, encouraged and invigorated. They were impressed with the professionalism and impeccable organization of the small but dedicated staff at SATG. Students enjoyed group and individual photos in the lush green farms of afgoi with both SATG and City University staff and with each other. This was an unforgettable event for the students who have chosen agriculture as a profession for their future career.