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July 25, 2024
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Livestock: Expert Makes Case for More Veterinarians

The Executive Director, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Oyo, Professor Veronica Obatolu, has decried that Nigeria is in dire need of more veterinarians to cater for its livestock population.  

Obatolu made the call during the presentation of certificates to 24 veterinary para-professionals trained by the Institute in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) at the weekend.

The event had in attendance the Country Team leader, FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), Dr. Muhinda Otto, Global Project Coordinator, FAO Africa Region, Dr. Holly Hufnagel, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Professor Adebayo Bamire, represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research, Innovation and Technology), Professor Akinyemi Akanni and President of Veterinary Council of Nigeria, Dr. Aishatu Abubakar Baju. 

Others are Oyo State Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Christiana Abioye and Dr Gani Enahoro, Senior Advisor, VPP project. 

Speaking during the presentation, Prof Obatolu explained that the population of veterinarians in the country today could not serve efficiently, the livestock producing population.  

She added that the seven month training was organized to equip the veterinary paraprofessionals 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.  

Speaking further she added that there is a need for stakeholders in the animal health sector to collaborate together to ensure a thriving and prosperous livestock industry.

She said: “The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, forwarded her Expression of Interest (EOI) to provide continuing education training for Para veterinarians in Nigeria, sequel to the FAO announcement on this sometime in August 2023.

“The need to cast the net wide to bring in more veterinary para-professionals to livestock healthcare training cannot be overemphasized.

It is a known fact that the population of veterinarians in the country today cannot efficiently serve the livestock producing population.  

“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 together to ensure a thriving and prosperous livestock industry. 

“About seven months ago, 25 veterinary para-professionals (VPP), sponsored by the FAO, underwent a training on “Growing your business through preventive livestock healthcare.” 

They 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 bare, the current day realities without neglecting the urgent need for practical sessions where communication skills and other clinical processes were painstakingly taught and demonstrated.”  

On his part, the Country Team leader, FAO Emergency Centre for Transboundary Animal Diseases (ECTAD), Dr. Otto, said the training was organised to boost the capacity of veterinary paraprofessionals.  

“We looked at the training institute and collaborated with IAR&T to train the paraprofessionals. To boost their capacity because most farmers, especially people in the rural areas do not have access to veterinary doctors.”  

Furthermore, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Oyo State, Olaleye expressed his profound appreciation to FAO  and IAR&T for their efforts in the development of Agriculture in the pacesetter’s state.

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