National Heads of Colleges of Agriculture and Related Disciplines (NACHCARD) has appealed to the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to allow the inclusion of colleges of agriculture in the TETFund intervention scheme.
The body also called for the establishment of private colleges of agriculture, to further enhance efforts to sustain agricultural development.
It decried the deplorable state of the tertiary institutions, while also canvassing for access to more research grants.
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund) was set up by the government to arrest the rot and deterioration of educational infrastructure.
TETFund Act of 2011 extended its scope of operation to all public schools, including colleges of agriculture.
However, in 2014, the Act was amended, excluding the colleges of agriculture from the intervention.
National Chairman of NACHCARD, Dr. Oluyemi Akande lamented that since the erroneous exclusion of the colleges, they had not enjoyed any form of infrastructural development.
Unlike their university and polytechnic counterparts, he said the colleges which double as research institutes were deteriorating.
“We are appealing to the Federal Government to look into our case, and call us back to enjoy TETFund interventions because that is the reason why we are not developing because there is no intervention for us”, he said.
“The law that established TETFund says tertiary institutions, and ironically, polytechnics that are under the Federal Ministry of Education, their programme is being monitored by the National Board for Technical Education, which is the same body that is accrediting the courses of colleges of agriculture.
“Now we are asking them to tell us the difference between us and polytechnics that make them separate us when we are producing the same results for our graduates.
“There is no tangible reason for excluding us rather than because we are not under the Federal Ministry of Education.”
Akande, however, stressed the need for checking the quantity of agricultural produce that is lost due to improper preservation techniques.
He called for the creation of an agricultural produce storage chain where excess products that farmers can’t eat or sell immediately after harvest will be stored.