The Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike, Abia State, through its research on cost-effective and nutritionally balanced animal feeds, has successfully lowered the average cost and time of producing broiler chickens.
Dean of the College of Vet Medicine, Professor Maduike Ezeibe, disclosed that in the quest to improve the country’s economy, increase the profitability of poultry farmers and alleviate poverty and malnutrition while making sources of protein cheaper to Nigerians informed the decision to embark on the research.
The efforts have resulted in the compounding of nutritious and more cost-effective feeds that enhance not only growth and weight gains but also help in reducing the gestation period by two weeks.
In the experiment, the cost of production per kilogramme of broiler meat was reduced to as low as N300 using its experimental feeds. The average cost of a kilogramme in Nigeria now is about N370 as a result of the increasing cost of ingredients of feeds.
He also said that the age at which the broilers mature for dressing was reduced to only four weeks instead of the conventional period of six to eight weeks.
He added that since this had worked in the production of broilers, it shall also work with pigs and other food animals.
“Our efforts on diseases thought to be incurable is well known all over the world. We like to put our research findings into practice and therefore plead with the university management to support the college to make money from it and use it to teach our students, just as we also plead for the establishment of a laboratory and abattoir services that shall be a money-spinner for the university,” he said.
Speaking during the college’s seventh induction ceremony for 34 2018/2019 veterinary graduates which was performed by the Acting Registrar of Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Dr Josiah Kantiyok, who said that the oath was a statutory requirement for them to practise the profession.
He urged them to be guided by the oath, stressing that doing otherwise would lead to sanctions.
The Vice-Chancellor, Professor Francis Otunta, represented by his Deputy (Administration), Professor Joy Nwabueze, tasked the graduates to strive for excellence as they practise in accordance with the oath, stressing that the university management attached great importance to the training of veterinary doctors, hence it had supported all programmes and activities directed towards enhancing learning and research in the college.
According to the vice-chancellor, “In order to enhance the quality of manpower available for the training of veterinary doctors in the university, the management recently appointed additional high calibre staff, including professors on sabbatical in the college and also gave approval to the proposal by a private firm, Amo Byng Nig. Ltd, for collaboration with the College of Veterinary Medicine in raising of broilers, expecting that these features would strengthen the college further in its teaching and research activities.”