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Nigerian Researchers Admonished to Develop Genetically Improved Cattle

Nigerian researchers have been urged to develop genetically improved indigenous cattle herds, to facilitate the local production of cattle milk and meat.

This call was made by stakeholders during a ‘Strategic Interest Research Group Meeting on Livestock Genetic Improvement (SIRGM – III)’, organized by the Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics Department, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA)/FMST, and Center for Genomics Research and Innovation (CGRI).

During the meeting, held at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan, Oyo State, Geneticist, Professor Victor Olori reiterated the need to proliferate sustainable meat production, even though there is a decline in resources.

He pointed out that cross-breeding is a creative process of genetics intervention, a key innovation to secure the future of Nigerian livestock production in a globalising world.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa, we have millions of cows, yet our beef production from those millions upon millions of cows is very small.

“Even though we have 21 percent of the total grazing land in the world, only eight percent of the world output is the beef output that comes out of Sub-Saharan Africa.

“That is 0.38 percent of efficiency output ratio and is very poor; compared to the United Kingdom where the output ratio is 5.5 percent. From two percent of the world grazing land available, UK was able to produce well over 21 percent of world output,” he said.

Olori reiterating the need for efficiency said the Diary Development Center in Iwo, would accommodate all the processes that would aid the development of the genetically improved indigenous cattle, and also facilitate the ability to collect data from all animals that are performing.

“That is what will allow us to know the variance – how different the different animals are performing. The average milk from Nigerian cows is about one liter per cow, if you look at all the cows some may be doing five liters some two litres or more, so we need to be able to collect data and analyse it.

“For such data to be collected and analysed, we need a center like the center that is being proposed in Iwo Town, where we will have personnel and resources that would be able to coordinate the efforts, to record data from all the animals, analyse the data and supply the information back to farmers.”

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