The National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) located in Zaria has to give way to several animal production research institutes, if the country desire meaningful development to happen in the livestock industry. This was the consensus opinion of animal scientists and other livestock stakeholders who gathered to mark the 50th year of productive engagement of Dr Oyedele Oyediji in the livestock industry. The meeting which took place virtually by zoom on Wednesday 28 April 2021 was attended by several livestock stakeholders from within and outside the country.
The three invited panelists, Professor Demo Kalla, Mr Raymond Isiadinso and Mr John Taiwo clearly identified the gaps in the animal production training and research; industry and; policies, respectively.
Professor Kalla, a reproductive physiologist at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi, submitted that quality training and research in animal science and production had for long been bedeviled by poor funding, a situation that is now been addressed vigorously by TETFUND. This he said has taken the researcher far away from the demands of the commercial operators. He advised that farmers must be seen as the future of the country and science, rather than politics must be allowed to guide the animal production industry. Mr Isiadinso, who is the current president of Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN) as well as the Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria (FIPAN), summarized the gaps in animal production industry into inconsistent government policies, non availability and high cost of production materials and issues with standardization.
Mr John Taiwo, the pioneer director of Department of Animal Husbandry Services in the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, lamented the policy somersault and lack of capacity to formulate and implement good policies for the development of the livestock industry, which was the hallmark of the former Federal Department of Livestock Services (FDLS) until it was separated into two departments; for veterinary and husbandry services. He corroborated his positions with three major examples namely: the national livestock breeding policy; livestock census and; unbundling of NAPRI.
Mr Taiwo wondered why the draft national breeding policy was put on the shelve from 1978 till 2016; why there has been only one livestock census conducted in the country till date and; why NAPRI has remained the only livestock husbandry research institute in the country, just because the people at the helm of affairs of the defunct FDLS deemed these issues unimportant to move the livestock industry forward. The new FDAHS under his watch brought these issues into the front burner and as at the time of this report, the revised national livestock breeding policy is awaiting the Federal Executive Council approval while NAPRI has been technically splited into five animal husbandry institutes awaiting the political will to bring it into fruition. He further identified the unwilling attitude of the authorities of Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria to let go of NAPRI to evolve into more institutes for the overall benefits of the livestock industry and the country. He lamented a situation whereby a single crop based institute, out of almost twenty, would receive the same funding as NAPRI and the country expect miracle to happen to the development of the livestock sector.
Participants at the meeting which included retired Professors Babafunso Sonaiya and Olusegun Osinowo, were unanimous that NAPRI need to be unbundled and the political will to do so must be sought vigorously, in the overall interest of the country. They equally agreed that other sectors of the livestock industry should take a cue from the poultry sector, in order to bring about an all round development to the industry,
All the speakers extolled the virtues of Dr Oyedele Oyediji (popularly referred to as BABA ASAN, the Bulldozer) for the great efforts and dedication that he put into the livestock industry in the last 50 years. He was described as an achiever who pursues his dreams with vigour. He was credited with the evolution of both ASAN and NIAS, the two bodies that are now guiding the national livestock husbandry sector.
Dr Oyediji’s foray in the livestock sector has seen him becoming active in the three arms of the livestock profession i.e. academics/research, policies formulation and commerce/industry. He started off as a veterinary technologist with the Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture and later moved on to further in academics culminating in a PhD in animal reproductive physiology under the supervision of revered Professor G.N. Egbunike. He was noted to have published significant and impactful journal articles on oestrus synchronization in West African dwarf sheep. He moved on to join the first livestock feedmill in the country, LIVESTOCK Feed PLC where he held many managerial positions and retired as manager for the premix division. He thereafter focused on his premix manufacturing company, Godoye Enterprises Nig ltd. He would later become the pioneer Registrar of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science, the body set up by the Federal Government to regulate all activities pertaining to animal husbandry in Nigeria. Dr Oyediji is better described as a walking encyclopedia of Animal Science and Production in Nigeria. LIVESTONEWS.
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