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More veterinarians needed in Nigeria

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By Abraham Adekunle

Number of vets currently in country can't cater for livestock population.

Executive Director at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) Ibadan, Professor Veronica Obatolu, disclosed on Friday, September 29, 2023, that Nigeria needs more veterinarians. While speaking at the presentation of certificates to 24 veterinary paraprofessionals trained by the Institute in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO), she said that the number of veterinarians in Nigeria presently cannot cater for the country’s livestock population. She maintained that the 7-month training was organized in order to equip the veterinary paraprofessionals to be able to attend to the basic animal health needs especially that of the smallholder farmers and rural dwellers livestock keepers who rarely have access to veterinarians.

According to the executive director, there is a need for stakeholders in the animal health sector to collaborate together to ensure a thriving and prosperous livestock industry. The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan forwarded her Expression of Interest (EOI) to provide continuing education training for paraveterinarians in Nigeria, sequel to the FAO announcement on this sometime in August 2023. The professor added that the need to cast the net wide to bring in more veterinary paraprofessionals to livestock healthcare training cannot be overemphasized.

Vet paraprofessionals had been sponsored by FAO on training.

“It is a known fact that the population of veterinarians in the country today cannot efficiently serve the livestock producing population,” she said. So, there is a need to equip the veterinary paraprofessionals to be able to attend to the basic animal health needs especially that of the smallholder farmers and rural dwellers livestock keepers who rarely have access to veterinarians. She maintained that the stakeholders in the animal health sectors from private livestock companies, veterinary pharmaceuticals, research institutes, NGOs and government livestock agencies must more than ever before collaborate to ensure a thriving and prosperous livestock industry.

Obatolu said that about seven months ago, 25 veterinary paraprofessionals (VPP) sponsored by the FAO for training on “Growing your business through preventive livestock healthcare” were exposed to various advanced knowledge in animal preventive healthcare delivery systems and competencies in business skills. The blended approach of the training brings to bear the current day realities without neglecting the urgent need for practical sessions where communication skills and other clinical processes were painstakingly taught and demonstrated during the presentation of certificates.

Country has recorded livestock genetic improvement.

Meanwhile, the Director General of the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), Professor Abdullahi Mustapha, recently disclosed that Nigeria recorded success in the genetic improvement of livestock for the production of meats and milk. This information was revealed in an interview which was held in April 2023 in Abuja, where he noted that the sector had been successful in terms of inseminating the cows and now waiting for the first generation (F1) to be produced. He explained that once they are produced, the F1s would be immediately checked genetically to determine the kinds of characters they had taken.

Furthermore, the director revealed that the success in inseminating the cows and processes in terms of the areas of pregnancy were all being recorded. This means that the expectation for the first generation of cows by April is poised to be a success story and Nigeria would have its first breed of livestock. NABDA boss had also raised concerns that lack of resources has been the major problem affecting the insemination of cows for productivity.

FIPAN warns FG on impending import-dependency.

Still on the issue of livestock, feed millers, under the aegis of Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria (FIPAN), had raised an alarm in August 2023 that if the Federal Government failed to immediately address the challenges facing the poultry industry, the country may soon rely on poultry products from other countries. Speaking to news correspondents, the president of the association, Raymond Isidinaso, had said that the high cost of eggs, chicken, fish and other poultry products is as a result of scarcity of maize and soya beans, which are essential ingredients in the production of poultry feed.

Related Link

Institute of Agricultural Research and Training: Website

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