There is a renowned university known as Ekiti State University (EKSU).
Nestled amidst lush green fields and rolling hills, EKSU had always been at the forefront of agricultural research and development. The faculty of agriculture at EKSU was particularly esteemed for its dedication to advancing farming techniques and improving crop yields.
The professors and students tirelessly worked together, conducting experiments and implementing innovative practices to support the local farming community.
However, amidst our success, a new challenge emerged that threatened to hinder agricultural productivity in Ekiti State during the 2017/2018 Students’ Industrial Work Experience Scheme within the university’s space, what many students “old and new” know as Internal SIWES – zinc deficiency.
It was discovered that many crops grown in Irasa (fondly called by the local dwellers), such as maize, and Beans, were suffering from inadequate levels of zinc, an essential micronutrient required for proper plant growth and development.
The zinc deficiency news spread like wildfire throughout Ekiti State, causing concern among farmers and the agricultural community. Recognising the gravity of the situation, EKSU’s faculty of agriculture decided to take immediate action.
The professors and students embarked on an extensive research project to understand the causes and consequences of zinc deficiency in local crops. They studied the soil composition, analysed the nutrient content of plants, and conducted experiments to identify suitable strategies for addressing the issue.
After days of diligent work and surviving a huge sink, the team at EKSU (credit to Engr. Awe, Dr Falade and many other faculty field staffs) discovered that the zinc deficiency in crops was primarily due to the soil’s low zinc content, excessive use of Irasa farmland over the years and its poor availability to plants.
They also realised that conventional farming practices, such as excessive use of chemical fertilizers and improper irrigation methods, further exacerbated the problem. Also, it is important to note that while battling with this major setback, there was pest infestation on all the cultivated crops.
Equipped with this knowledge, the faculty of agriculture devised a comprehensive plan to combat zinc deficiency in Ekiti State. They initiated a widespread awareness campaign, educating farmers and students about the importance of zinc and its role in plant nutrition. They emphasised the significance of sustainable agricultural practices and the need for balanced fertilization to improve soil health.
Moreover, EKSU organised field training and demonstrations to teach students about the proper application of zinc-based fertilizers and organic soil amendments. They encouraged the adoption of precision farming techniques, including soil testing and site-specific nutrient management, to ensure optimal zinc levels in crops.
To support their efforts, EKSU established a dedicated laboratory equipped with advanced equipment for soil and plant nutrient analysis. This laboratory served as a hub for research and development, as well as a resource centre where farmers could bring samples for testing and seek expert advice on zinc management and other relatable issues.
Over time, the combined efforts of EKSU’s faculty of agriculture, students, and the farming community began to yield positive results. We, the SIWES Students started witnessing improvements in crop quality and yield as they implemented the recommended practices.
The success story of EKSU’s battle against zinc deficiency in Ekiti State soon gained recognition. Ekiti State University became a shining example of how academic institutions could bridge the gap between theory and practice, directly impacting the lives of farmers and contributing to the overall development of the agricultural sector.
And so, the tale of EKSU’s triumph over zinc deficiency in agriculture became a legend, inspiring future generations to pursue scientific research, innovation, and sustainable practices for a brighter and more prosperous agricultural future in Ekiti State and beyond.