If you had walked up to me sixteen years ago and asked if I wanted to study Agriculture? I would have probably looked at you like you were on something illegal and screamed "No!". Sometimes all it takes is one seemingly unimportant experience, one fleeting moment for your life to make sense, and for you to find yourself on a journey you would not trade for anything in the world.
The first encounter
I cannot stop thinking about my last trip to Finland and how, on my last night there, the snow seemed to glitter and sparkle and dance like tiny little living diamonds. It was nothing short of a spectacular view.
I guess the reason that the last day in Finland seems to have burrowed itself so deeply into my subconscious is that all that snow reminded me of being young and full of wonder. It reminded me of the child-like wonder I felt the first time I saw a cassava (a delicious and versatile root crop) processing facility in my hometown in south-west, Nigeria. It was an adventure for me. To see all those lumpy tubers turned into flakes was the closest thing to magic I ever saw as a child.
That one childhood experience, even though it lasted for about a half-hour, lit a fire in my heart that has continued to burn even till today.
However, I must admit I did not realize how much influence that experience had on me until I attended a seminar one year before graduating from high school. Truth be told, the talk was mostly dull to me. I stayed because attendance was compulsory, but then the speaker went into a long tirade about SDGs, zero hunger, and sustainable practices and I was sold. I knew then, at that moment, that I wanted to be a part of that. I knew that I wanted to be involved in agriculture, I wanted to be a part of the solution to feeding the world.
After graduating from high school, I had the opportunity to study Agricultural Economics at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (now Federal University of Abeokuta - https://unaab.edu.ng/ ) in Nigeria, and I jumped at the chance with great encouragement from my Dad who saw many opportunities in agriculture, even then, when agriculture was relegated and considered the profession of the “dull and poor”. It was an occasion to follow my dream and experience so much that Agriculture has to offer. It was a beautiful experience. I enjoyed every second of my five-year program and knew I had to get more-to be more and contribute more, I also had the desire to prove that agriculture was not in any way “less prolific” compared to other professions.
I finally got my chance in 2019. I had the opportunity to see the beautiful landscapes of the Czech Republic as a master’s student. I got into the International Development and Agricultural Economics program at the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Czech Republic. The past two years have been a journey, and I'm grateful that with each class, presentation, and study, I've learned, and I am still learning that agriculture is truly the future.
My interest in Agriculture was stoked in my early years and kept aflame by an unrelenting drive to see the sustainable food supply achieved, I am glad this is already happening. This generation is safeguarding the needs of future generations and conserving energy and resources, even though there is still quite a long way to go, I still believe that agriculture is truly the future. Across two continents and for almost a decade, I have been in this love story with Agriculture and I cannot wait to see what the future holds!
P.S These photos of me were taken 9 years ago during my Farm practical training in Nigeria.
Picture credit: Juliana Gold