CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
CHAPTER ONE INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY Agriculture as defined by Oxford Advanced Learners Dictionary 6thedition is the science or practice of farming. It is the art, science business and industry of cultivating the land to grow crops, rear animals and preparing plants and animal’s product for mans use. Before recorded history, man depended on wild animals for food, clothing, shelter and transport. Due to increasing human population, the demand for food and animal protein had out weighed the supply from natural resources which fluctuated, became laborious and expensive. Therefore man had gone a little bit further as society made transition from hunting to pasturalism and cultivation, certain animal species were domesticated in areas other than their natural habitat. These farm animals are exhaustible resources but are renewable. Their renewability however depends on the level of management adopted. It is for this reason one has to learn the scientific techniques involved in the maintaining and improving these resources to maximum yield and their usefulness to mankind. Agriculture is one of the core subjects in both junior and senior secondary schools in the Nigerian 6:3:3:4 system of educational programme (ONWUEGBUNAM 1993). Agricultural science teaching covers the following areas; 1. Animal science/production 2. Crop science 3. Soil science 4. Agricultural extension and 5. Agricultural economics. Animal science include the production and management of many different species of domesticated animals like cattle, sheep, goat, pig, poultry, rabbit, horses, fisheries and many others for human consumption. According to WAEC regulation (2002), schools presenting candidates for the examinations in addition to having a school farm where students should be trained in the art of growing various crops, should also keep the following livestock like cattle, sheep and goats, fish, rabbit, pigs or poultry birds. This will ensure that the students should be able equipped with the skills and management techniques involved in animal production. To improve the animal protein needs of the Nigerian populace, the Federal Government of Nigeria is making efforts towards increasing animal protein productions. Apart from encouraging ministries of Agriculture at both state and local government levels to establish livestock unit, the National policy on education (1998) has emphasized the teaching of Agriculture at the secondary schools level.