The world’s population is expected to grow from 6 billion today to at least 8 billion by the year 2025. And most of this growth will take place in the developing world including Africa. It is therefore clear that expanding agricultural production in a sustainable manner will be crucial in responding to these challenges. Complex problems ranging from the development of sustainable systems for the production of food, fiber and renewable energy, to the scale-up of products of new discoveries in biology and biotechnology will require engineering solutions. These solutions must be developed in the context of globalization and the prevailing role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), while at the same time ensuring local relevance and the protection of the environment. This is aimed at producing 21st – century engineers that are well equipped to tackle these challenges in the context of the philosophy, “think globally; act locally”.
The primary objectives are to train engineers who will function in one or more of the following roles towards national self-sufficiency:
- To increase and sustain agricultural, aquacultural and/or forest production;
- To manage the natural resources such that a high level of production can be sustainable without damage to the environment;
- To maintain or change the natural characteristics of food and biomaterials for suitable purposes;
- To remove or reduce the physical drudgery in production operations, and;
- To provide desirable amenities for communities of producers, usually rural.
The Department offers a 5-year B.Eng degree programme designed to give students a firm foundation in the discipline. In the first two years of the programme, study concentrates on the engineering sciences common to all engineering disciplines. From the third year onwards, discipline specialization courses are introduced. This finally leads to students, in the final year of the programme, taking courses with emphasis on one of the following options:
(i) Power Systems, Machinery and Forest Engineering
(ii) Soil, Water Resources and Aquacultural Engineering
(iii) Food and Bioprocess Engineering
(iv) Structures and Environmental Quality Engineering