Prof. Francis Ahamefule has called on Federal Government to take urgent measures to resuscitate the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI), Zaria and the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI), Jos to discharge their mandate.
Ahamefule, a professor of Animal Production at the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, made the call in Umuahia.
He said that the institutes were saddled with the responsibilities of small ruminant research and training in the country.
He said that the inability of the institutes to rise up to their responsibilities had affected the country’s production of West African Dwarf (WAD) goat.
“NAPRI had the initial mandate to breed, select and supply improved males to interested farmers. Not much progress has been made in this direction.
“NVRI researches into sheep and goat diseases and develops appropriate diagnostic and investigatory services as well as producing vaccine for disease control.
“Unfortunately, the services and influence of these institutes are hardly felt at the rural environment where the WAD goat is reared,’’ he said.
The lecturer, who said that he had carried out an extensive research on WAD goat, disclosed that the small ruminant breed had staggering potentials capable of meeting the animal protein needs of over 60 million Nigerians.
According to him, the WAD goat milk can be higher in protein relative to milk of other goat breeds and their milk yield higher than other species, with the possible exception of camels.
He said, “Until research findings concerning the WAD goat and other livestock species begin to find expression in our smallholder animal units, mixed farm enterprises and integrated animal farms, the food security we clamour for, would continue to remain a mirage.’’