Drip Irrigation Farming Program
Words from Dr. Solomon Aguh, President of SBS
We believe the people of Africa need to learn the basic principles of composting and simple, practical, affordable, and sustainable vegetable production, throughout the year, through drip irrigation farming. At the School of Biblical Studies we want to teach our students and the community these principles along with knowledge on types of cooperative development, processes on the acquisition of loans, and other related farm inputs from both government and non-governmental organizations. The spreading of the gospel of Christ Jesus will be a central goal of this program with daily devotionals and prayers conducted in every workshop.
The possibility of the School of Biblical Studies, Jos, having a Drip Irrigation Farming Program first started taking shape when Brothers Steve Worley and Simon Dabish attended a Agricultural and Water Resource Development & Conservation Project Seminar hosted by Healing Hands International of Nashville, Tennessee. The seminar was held April 1-5, 2006, in Dakar, Senegal, with Brother Dave Goolsby as the speaker.
Soon after their return to the SBS campus, Brothers Dabish and Worley held their first workshop, constructing two raised garden beds and one compost heap. Later that year, Brother Solomon Aguh, President of SBS, along with Brothers Dabish and Worley attended an Agri-Workshop on a farm in Zambia, July 30 thru August, 5, 2006.
With the support of the Azalea City Church of Christ, Brother Bala Turgong joined the teaching staff of SBS in August of 2006, as the head of our new Agriculture Training Department. Brother Bala had just completed his NYSC training in early August 2006, after obtaining his Higher Degree from the College of Agriculture at Zuru, Kebbi State. He had graduated from SBS and worked with the World Bible School follow-up program before this. His zeal for evangelism and knowledge of farming made him well qualified for the position.
Brother Bala started teaching the two year course in Agriculture at SBS in August of 2007. Brothers Dave Goolsby and Richard Myers hosted two five day farming workshops on campus in the fall of 2007. In the spring of 2008, our team from SBS traveled about 300 miles north to Katsina, Katsina State, and held our first workshop off campus. It was a resounding success!
Words from Bala Turgong, Head of the Agriculture Department
We now have 29 garden beds and 14 compost heaps on campus. We have finished the water tank construction project including the piping, water pump, and pump house. A roof has been completed on the two 20 foot sea containers for our Agric Center (barn). We have interviewed and hired a full-time worker for our campus farm. We have a good supply of farm training manuals both in French and English, plus we have the capability on campus to print more as we need them. A shipment of 640 drip kits is in a sea container awaiting clearance by the Nigerian Customs Service. In the near future, we hope to find a source for purchasing our drip hoses on the African continent.
I continue to teach a two year Agriculture course to 19 SBS students. I also have a two hour class on Wednesdays and practical sessions scheduled on campus during the week. The students are assigned garden beds and compost heaps to maintain as part of their practical qualifications. Lord willing, we expect to graduate our first class and award them a certificate in May of 2009. I am also attending classes at the University of Bauchi, Bauchi State, on weekends. I am studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Agricultural Economics and Extension and hope to complete my classes this year, my project next year, and then graduate in May of 2009.
We need to purchase 13 books related to our farming program. Some of their titles are, Essentials of Crop Farming; Cropping System Theory and Practice; Plant Diseases; Fungicides and Plant Diseases; Principals of Crop Production, Fundamentals of Plant Breeding and Hybrid Seed Production. The books will be placed in the library for students to study and for class reading assignments. Total cost of one copy each of these 13 books is four hundred dollars ($400.00).
Some of our future plans are:
Schedule to host a farm workshop in October and November of each year on the campus of SBS for local farmers, SBS students and invited guests.
· Schedule to host a farm workshop in March and April of each year in locations throughout Nigeria or West Africa.
Seek funding for the construction of a greenhouse for plant seedlings to support our 29 plus garden beds and workshops.
· Research the possibility of planting an orchard on campus. (Land is available for this project).
Purchase a truck to support our farming program. (Our top priority!).
· Seek two hundred dollars ($200.00) per monthly support for class materials (books and manuals), for our Agric Class and our ongoing farm maintenance requirements (tools, manure, top soil, pesticides, etc).
Seek four hundred dollars ($400.00) to purchase 15 copies of books related to farming methods and techniques. They will be placed in our library.
It is our hope that because of our strategic location within the arid regions of Africa along with an adequate infrastructure of assets (land, buildings, trained personnel, etc.), and proven operations of educations involving solid curriculums of practical training, The School of Biblical Studies, Jos, will become a major center to spread the gospel of our Lord and Savior Christ Jesus while teaching people how to improve their farming techniques.