Veterinarians seek better funding of research institute

The President, of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria (VCN), Prof. Garba Sharubutu, has called for adequate funding of the Veterinary Research Institute (VRI) in Jos to enable it to produce potent vaccines for livestock in the country.

He made the call at the annual summit of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association (NVMA) on Wednesday in Abuja.

Prof. Sharubutu said the rate of vaccines failure in the country was alarming, thereby leading to massive death of livestock.

He, however, attributed the situation to importation of vaccines instead of relying on the Jos research institute.

The VCN president said “viruses change their forms due to environmental effect, so if we are using foreign vaccines for our livestock here, the tendency is that there will be vaccines failure.

“The research institute located in Jos is the only institute empowered and mandated to produce vaccines for livestock, but its capacity is limited because it cannot produce all vaccines for disease prevention. It is very important for government to adequately fund the institute’s activities to enable it to function accordingly because diseases both in human and animals can only be prevented with proper and potent vaccination”, he said.

According to him, the strength of organisms in the countries where those vaccines are produced is different, thereby making such vaccines to fail when administered on Nigerian livestock.

He noted that the present challenges facing livestock farmers could only be averted if the institute was adequately funded to carry out its statutory responsibility.

Dr Godwin Abonyi, the President of NVMA, said that the meeting was aimed at addressing the challenges in livestock industry, herdsmen and farmers crises, among others.

Abonyi, who identified livestock industry as an alternative to the dwindling fortunes from oil, however, noted that there was need for the industry to be effectively and comprehensive harnessed to fill the gap.

According to him, this can only be possible when the relevant professionals and expertise are deployed in strategic places to ensure timely response to issues affecting the sector.

Rafat S.