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Call for Specialised Research Institutes

by 5m Editor
21 May 2010, at 11:24a.m.

NIGERIA - The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) and stakeholders in the poultry industry have unanimously called for more livestock research institutes, saying that there is a need for species-based research institutes if the livestock sector must move forward.

According to Nigerian Compass, these groups say there is need for the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), the only livestock-based research institute, to be unbundled into species-based to enable it become more responsive to the livestock industry’s demands and situations, particularly the poultry sub-sector.

During a one-day seminar organised by Obasanjo Farms Nigeria Limited in Ibadan, the participants appeared unanimous in their call for livestock species based research institutes. They also, advocated that livestock farmers should be involved in the funding of research workers. They agreed that research should be seen as antidote to the multi-faceted challenges facing the industry.

They noted that the establishment of new research institutes for all livestock species will enhance livestock production and supply of milk, meat and eggs in the country.

The call for livestock species-based research institutes was propelled by the shortage of the breeders stock, particularly the Grand Parents Stock from which hatchery farms get the day-old chicks, which is now a scarce commodity in the country.

Following a previous request by the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN) for breeding companies and other stakeholders in the poultry industry to be allowed to import the Grand Parent Stock (GPS), the Federal Government last year granted special permits to 17 companies to import the product for a period of six months, but the licences were later revoked.

Speaking with Nigerian Compass, the Registrar of NIAS, Dr Oyedele Oyediji explained that there was need for the development of indigenous parent stock, but shouldering the responsibility of all animal production research on NAPRI alone has been limiting the growth and development of the livestock industry.

He said: "For instance, NAPRI has been able to come up with a local breed of chick, known as chika brown, but it has not been able to meet the demand of the poultry sector. The sector requires close to 20 million chicks per annum. So, it will require the entire budget of the institute to satisfy that demand and the entire staff strength of the institute will not even be enough to research on poultry issues alone not to talk of other species of livestock. Shouldering the responsibility of research of the livestock industry on NAPRI alone has made things clumsy.

"We are, therefore, asking that NAPRI be expanded and unbundled into species based research institute. The reason there have been so much progress in the crop sector is because there are different research institutes for each group of crops. There is Cocoa Research Institute for cocoa and some other cash crops; there is Forestry Research Institute and there is research institute for cereals. This is what we desire for the livestock sector too. There should be research stations for sheep and goat, pig, poultry, cattle, horse and other species of animal."

Dr Oyediji added that because the research institutes are not commercial stations, there is need for public-private partnership, whereby the private sector can go and establish facilities at the research stations and then fund the projects.