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Geneticist tasks government on genetically modified foods

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A geneticist, Prof. Benjamin Oluwole Akinyele of the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA), has  called on the government to regulate all genetically modified foods on sale, to ensure that they meet safety requirements in line with natural foods.

Akinyele, who teaches at the Department of Crop, Soil and Pest Management, Federal Univerisity of Technology Akure (FUTA), stated this in his inaugural lecture delivered on Tuesday in Akure.

The lecture, which marks 110th of the University and 9th of the department, was titled: “Plant Genetics for Nutrition and Food Security”.

The Don stated that the regulation would allay the fears of the public, with respect to the potential effects of the engineered food on human health and the environment.

According to him, government should evolve a policy that will mandate every viable food processing and manufacturing industry in the country to establish a collaborative relationship with, at least, a research institute with a view to developing and marketing research products.

He also called on governments at all levels, to invest in agricultural research that focused on increased production of food crops and improvements on their quality; as doing so would boost the nation’s economy and ensure food security.

“As human population increases by the day, the need to focus on these research areas should also increase by the day, so that people might have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable and nutritious food.

“My various contributions to knowledge, through these research endeavours, if properly harnessed,will not only enhance food security, but will boost the nation’s economy, create employment, reduce the level of poverty and improve nutrition and health,” he said.

Akinyele also enjoined government to endeavour to boost the morale of plant geneticists and breeders by rewarding them adequately in terms of salaries and other legitimate financial and material entitlements.

He noted that there was much need to strengthen the capacity of each university and research institute to do quality research that would face-lift the fortune of the nation.

“So, government should earmark a substantial proportion of the tertiary education needs assessment funds for the provision of standard laboratories with state of the art equipment to enable these institutions engage in productive research.

“Plant geneticists and breeders should be motivated to attend conferences, workshops and seminars that are relevant to their research as exposure to modern trends in their areas of specialisation for greater productive research,” he stated.

 

 

Foreign

Spotlight: How many U.S. flu patients actually infected with COVID-19?

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“How many of those were presumed to be flu or pneumonia when they were actually COVID-19?” a renowned U.S. geneticist and researcher said in a report published by The Washington Post in late April.

Eric Topol, founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute, said the early coronavirus deaths confirmed in California could mean COVID-19 may have been misdiagnosed in many people early this year.

His doubt represented concern of the public.

Several U.S. epidemiologists said since the COVID-19 outbreak in the country, factors such as lack of knowledge of the virus, failure of timely alarm by the monitoring system, and serious problems with testing, have led to “confusion” between COVID-19 and flu patients.

Some death cases presumed to result from influenza may actually be related to COVID-19, according to the experts.

In late April, health officials in California state confirmed at least two people who died in early- and mid-February had contracted the novel coronavirus, suggesting the virus may have spread in the United States earlier than previously thought.

Tissue samples from victims who died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 in Santa Clara County, California, tested positive for the virus.

Previously, the nation’s earliest coronavirus fatality was thought to have occurred on Feb. 29 in Kirkland, Washington.

The COVID-19 epidemic “spread silently within communities at a time when health officials still focused entirely on infections from travelers entering the United States from abroad, or off cruise ships,” said a report by The Los Angeles Times.

“We were missing cases because we didn’t have the tests to be able to confirm,” Sara Cody, Santa Clara County’s public health officer, was quoted by The Washington Post as saying.

As Cody explained, each severe COVID-19 case or death represents “tips of icebergs of unknown size.”

“When you start seeing the first death, actually, the number of cases in the population is probably pretty high already. It’s been in the community for a long time,” Neeraj Sood, a professor at Price School of Public Policy at the University of Southern California, was quoted by The Los Angeles Times as saying.

According to a report by The New York Times, as part of a research project into the flu, Helen Y. Chu, an infectious disease expert in Seattle, and a team of researchers had been collecting nasal swabs from residents experiencing symptoms throughout the Puget Sound region.

To repurpose the tests for monitoring the coronavirus, they turned to the support of state and federal officials, but were repeatedly rejected.

On Feb. 25, Chu and her colleagues began performing coronavirus tests without government approval. They quickly had a positive test from a local teenager with no recent travel history.

The coronavirus had already established itself on American soil without anybody realizing it, according to The New York Times report.

Some COVID-19 deaths have been diagnosed as flu-related in the United States, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), told a hearing on Capitol Hill on March 11.

According to the CDC, as of Feb. 22, in the current season there were at least 32 million cases of flu in the United States, with 18,000 deaths.

(XINHUA)

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Doctors warn of risks of using malaria drugs to treat Covid-19 

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The prospect that a pair of malaria drugs will become go-to medications for treating COVID-19 before they’ve been rigorously tested is prompting new safety warnings from heart specialists and other doctors and experts.

President

Donald Trump

has touted the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine as a potential “game changer” for patients sickened by the novel coronavirus, and federal officials have asked pharmaceutical manufacturers to make their stocks of these drugs available for immediate use.

But as the medications begin pouring into hospital pharmacies and physicians begin prescribing them, their potential side effects are raising alerts.

An article published this week in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings warns that both drugs could prompt dangerous and potentially deadly heart arrhythmias in the 3 million people worldwide who have a congenital cardiac condition – called long QT syndrome – that can cause the heart to beat erratically and lead to sudden death.

In addition, millions of people in

the U.S.

 take medications that prolong the heart’s “QT interval,” the span of time it takes the heart’s electrical system to recharge between beats.

Those people – including patients who take common antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs or any one of a wide range of antibiotics – are probably also at risk of developing a dangerously irregular heartbeat if they take one of the malaria drugs without being closely monitored by a doctor, the article’s authors said.

Roughly 13 per cent of Americans over the age of 12 take an antidepressant medication.

It’s not clear how many more Americans are “QT reactors” – people whose hearts respond to certain drugs with electrical changes that could trigger arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

With potentially millions of patients taking chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine, the unexpected appearance of these side effects in even a small percentage of them could spell disaster, said Dr.

Michael J. Ackerman

, a geneticist at the

Mayo Clinic

in

Rochester, Minnesota

, who co-authored the new report.

“We will pay the piper for this tragic side effect, and we need to make sure we do everything possible to prevent treatment-related sudden death,” said Ackerman, who treats and studies those with congenital heart conditions.

“We have the tools and we have the knowledge” to avoid sudden cardiac deaths among people treated with the malaria drugs, Ackerman said.

But the medical community will need to be made more aware of this side effect.

He added that if these drugs are to be used safely, doctors will need to screen their patients carefully and devise a plan to monitor their heart rhythms after they’re sent home with the drug.

Meanwhile, a dispatch posted this week to MedPage Today, a blog and medical news service widely read by doctors, warned that chloroquine can cause hemolytic anemia if administered to people with a common genetic condition called G6PD deficiency.

Hemolytic anemia can lead to shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat, and in severe cases, kidney failure and death.

“Chloroquine is not a harmless panacea for COVID-19,” wrote Dr.

Dan J. Vick

, a pathologist who teaches healthcare administration at

Central Michigan University

.

Its use is specifically discouraged in patients with G6PD deficiency.

The problem: Many of those patients never know they have G6PD until a new drug or dietary quirk triggers a crisis that prompts red blood cells to break down faster than they can be made.

The disorder affects between 10 per cent and 14 per cent of

African American

men in the

U.S.

, and is common in people from the Mediterranean region,

Africa

and

Asia

.

Nearly all patients with G6PD are.

Across the world, some 17 clinical trials are testing the safety and effectiveness of chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

Two clinical trials in

the U.S.

aim to test whether hydroxycloroquine might prevent illness in

U.S.

healthcare workers or caregivers who have been exposed COVID-19 patients.

When medications are tested for use by healthy people who may become ill, regulators typically demand a high level of safety.

A recent review of research on chloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19 concluded that “it seems to be effective in limiting the replication” of the novel coronavirus in laboratory dishes.

Clinical trials in humans and other primates, however, have tempered hopes.

Both chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine failed to help patients infected with the dengue and chikungunya viruses, and it also failed to protect against the flu.

The Italian doctors who authored the review in the

Journal of Critical Care

added that “safety data and data from high-quality clinical trials are urgently needed.”

Meanwhile, the drugs, used to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis are also pouring into hospitals and pharmacies in the

U.S.

and around the world.

Trump has insisted there is “very strong evidence” to support his confidence in the malaria drugs as treatment for COVID-19.

“I feel good about it,” he said last week. “That’s all it is, just a feeling.”

The pharmaceutical giant Novartis has pledged a donation of 130 million tablets of hydroxychloroquine, and the generic manufacturer Teva announced it will donate 16 million tablets to hospitals across

the United States

.

The generic giant Mylan said it is restarting production of hydroxychloroquine at a manufacturing facility in

West Virginia

and could readily produce 50 million tablets.

YEE

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
(NAN)

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.5m tonnes of electronic wastes dumped in Nigeria monthly- Don

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A don, Prof. Adekunle Bakare, has called for  implementation of genetic safety evaluation assessment protocol to reduce about 500,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic wastes being imported into Nigeria monthly.

Bakare, a Professor of Genetics Toxicology at the University of Ibadan, made the call while delivering the institution’s inaugural lecture.

His lecture was entitled ‘Environmental Xenobiotics and Biological Spiral Staircase: For Good or for ill.”

The don said that education on the safe keeping of the environment and sustainable waste management was key to stemming advent of unknown diseases caused by genetic mutations.

Bakare said from research “ an average of 500,000 tonnes of obsolete waste electrical and electronic equipment are imported into Nigeria monthly.”

“The impact of this coupled with waste dumped on the road median, open space and those in landfills constitute environmental hazard.

“You will see that in Nigeria today, people talk of new diseases that they seem not to be able to explain.

“Most of these are not far fetched from the environment; they have to do with what you eat, what you use, the cosmetics, metals from industries, things that come from waste affect our water tables,” he said.

The professor of cellular and molecular toxicology said when wastes decompose, rainfall and the decomposed materials, which are toxic because they contain organic and inorganic materials, affect water sources and become harmful to humans, animals and plants.

He said further that when chemicals react with the genetic system, this affects the DNA code, which may be bad for the environment and consequently for living things.

The don advocated compulsory teaching of genetics studies from secondary school level as well as environmental awareness of mutagens and carcinogens in Nigeria.

He also warned Nigerians against self medication and indiscriminate use of drugs which he noted could alter their genetic system.

Bakare, a geneticist at the Department of Zoology, said this could lead to diseases such as cancer, organ failure and diabetes.

He enjoined regulatory agencies in the country to include genetics safety protocols before any substance, product or waste is released into the Nigerian environment.

“Standard genetic and molecular biology laboratories for this assessment should be established in all the zones of the country for easy and faster assessment,” Bakare said.

(
Edited By: Bayo Sekoni/Mufutau Ojo)

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Agriculturists advocate review of livestock policy to advance nutrition

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Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, the Deputy Director, Federal Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has advocated agricultural policy review with special attention on the livestock sector.

Lai-Solarin made the appeal on Wednesday during the agricultural policy study and validation meeting in Abuja, under the auspices of African Development Bank  (AfDB).

She stressed the need to promote accountable, inclusive, equitable livestock policy and investments.

She said agricultural sector based review had become imperative, noting that the livestock sector though significant due to its large livestock numbers, was still under developed and under-performing to it potential in terms of contribution to Gross Domestic Products of the country.

She said it was therefore important to engage government and other stakeholders on investments and better policies.

“Livestock sector’s has the potential to contribute achieving many national development goals and it represents a unique opportunity for far-reaching transformation.’’

Lai-Solarin called for immediate attention to be focused on livestock sector because the rapid growth in production.

She described the sector as a fast-growing one globally due in part to changing diets and increase in disposable incomes.

She said the sector, therefore, needed to be supported through adequate policy for sustainable effects on the environment.

The Deputy Director commended the policy review and validating the report but however pointed at a big gap in the  livestock policy.

She stressed the need for more focus on policy concerning livestock and fishery away from crop agriculture.

Lai-Solarin stressed that fisheries sector occupied a very important place in the socio-economic development of the country.

According to her, the sectors have been recognised as a powerful income and employment generator as it stimulates growth of a number of subsidiary industries and is a source of cheap and nutritious food besides being a foreign exchange earner.

 

Lai-Solarin added that the sector had been identified as most important source of livelihood for a large section of economically backward population in the country.

She lamented that animal agriculture had been relegated to the background as little attention had been paid to the sector and this had encourage clashes in recent time.

She also advocated for a better education on improved breed of animals as proper adoption of modern animal breeding biotechnology would have great potential to improve livestock productivity and food security.

“Animal geneticists have identified elements within genes that can enhance animal growth, health, and ability to utilise nutrients.

“In view of the climate change effect, the genetic advances can increase production while reducing environmental impacts,’’ she said.

She said with the development in the rice production now in Nigeria there is need to embark on converting the by-product of livestock feeds.

She commended the African Development Bank for organising the programme, saying this would bring a rethink on the livestock sector.

Mr Victor Ajieroh, the Senior Programme Officer Nutrition, Nigeria Global Development, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, called for synergy on all agricultural policy to work and complement advancement of nutrition in agriculture sector.

 

Ajieroh said that as long as household spend 65 per cent of their earning on food it would be difficult to cut down the level of malnutrition in the country.

He challenged government to be so considerate on the issue of agriculture as it concerned nutrition.

He said this had become serious because hunger and malnutrition remained the most devastating problems facing the world’s poor.

He, therefore, called on government to put in place strategies and actions to improve nutrition need of citizens.

Ajieroh called for a link between value chain and enhancing  nutrition, adding that there must be diversification of agriculture produces and livestock to improve on nutrition. .

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Association calls on CBN to retrace steps on restriction of FOREX on milk importation

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Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to retrace its steps on the proposed policy to restrict foreign exchange allocation for milk importation.

Baba Othman Ngelzarma National Secretary of MACBAN made the call in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had on July 23 at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, announced a planned policy restricting allocation of foreign exchange for milk importation into Nigeria.

“Although a desired long term outcome where local production substitutes importation, implementation of such a policy requires a robust strategy that addresses underlying issues,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.

According to him, MACBAN notes that the National Livestock Transformation Plan of (NLTP) as an integrated plan will  holistically solve the historic challenges that have deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market.

He said NLTP would do this by ensuring that the pastoralists  goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.

The association said that NLTP would modernise the industry through allowing ranches to develop organically with pastoralists as core participants in the livestock production chain.

He said that the move would ultimately impact wealth creation.

“In view of this, we are advising the CBN to retrace its steps and take a productive role that does not undo the work done to date.

“As much as the infusion of capital into the livestock sub sector is deeply appreciated and welcome, it must occur in the right strategic, stakeholders and cluster development context as provided in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) framework.

“As much as the infusion of capital into the livestock sub sector is deeply appreciated and welcome, it must occur in the right strategic, stakeholder and cluster development context as provided in the NLTP framework.

“It will also help to transfer knowledge mechanisms. This we strongly believe that it is safer, more stable sustainable path way than one which favours only one part of the livestock system.

“Therefore, for MACBAN, the recent discussions between the CBN’s Development Finance Department and dairy processors is a non-starter,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.

According to him, the challenge is not solved by lending money at nine per cent and requiring dairy companies to go to Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Kano or Oyo to locate and develop at least 10,000 hectares of land within a grazing reserve commencing on or before September.

Ngelzarma said the association believed that approach did not speak to the aspirations of its members.

He said without the pastoralists, crop farmers, processors, bankers, ranchers, technical workers, extension service providers, geneticists, and other stakeholders being involved, “the likelihood of failure will be very high’’.

Ngelzarma noted that the challenges had deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and the dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market, ensuring that their goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.

He said that partnering with domestic and foreign value chain actors was critical.

“It can also be vaccine developers from the National Veterinary Research Institution (NVRI) Vom in Jos as well as partnership across the livestock ecosystem is a requirement.

“Any plan that does not place such a step at its core is doomed to fail,’’ he said.

The association said that the invitation given to the diary processors to come up with their own plan on how they would develop their dairy farms of at least 10,000 hectares was disturbing.

“This move is disastrous on two counts, firstly, it disregards completely Federal Government approved NLTP.

“The approval that clearly outlines the necessary steps needed to be taken to transform the livestock sub-sector over 10 years in line with the desires and aspirations of all consulted stakeholders.

“Secondly, the need for Federal Government regulations and incentives for the roles of all partners in the transformation processes to achieve the goals of peaceful coexistence between crop farmers and pastoralists.

“Also to enhance the pastoral productivity through organic modernisation of the pastoral production base with capacity to retain their cultural livestock linkage in modernity and innovation for generations to come.

Ngelzarma said that it was important that the spirit of partnership and transparent dialogue with which the NLTP was developed be maintained and should allowed to thrive.

“Transforming Nigeria’s livestock sub sector from a basic, subsistence low technology, conflict-stricken status into a world class, productive, safe and profitable industry devoid of conflicts requires the involvement of all stakeholders including the pastoralists and crop farmers,’’ he  said.

Edited  by Grace Yussuf

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Miyetti Allah calls on CBN to retrace steps on restriction of FOREX on milk importation

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Association calls on CBN to retrace steps on restriction of FOREX on milk importation

FOREX

Abuja, July 26, 2019 Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to retrace its steps on the proposed policy to restrict foreign exchange allocation for milk importation.

Baba Othman Ngelzarma National Secretary of MACBAN made the call in a statement made available to the Nigeria News Agency on Friday in Abuja.

The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had on July 23 at the end of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, announced a planned policy restricting allocation of foreign exchange for milk importation into Nigeria.

“Although a desired long term outcome where local production substitutes importation, implementation of such a policy requires a robust strategy that addresses underlying issues,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.

According to him, MACBAN notes that the National Livestock Transformation Plan of (NLTP) as an integrated plan will  holistically solve the historic challenges that have deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market.

He said NLTP would do this by ensuring that the pastoralists  goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.

The association said that NLTP would modernise the industry through allowing ranches to develop organically with pastoralists as core participants in the livestock production chain.

He said that the move would ultimately impact wealth creation.

“In view of this, we are advising the CBN to retrace its steps and take a productive role that does not undo the work done to date.

“As much as the infusion of capital into the livestock sub sector is deeply appreciated and welcome, it must occur in the right strategic, stakeholders and cluster development context as provided in the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) framework.

“As much as the infusion of capital into the livestock sub sector is deeply appreciated and welcome, it must occur in the right strategic, stakeholder and cluster development context as provided in the NLTP framework.

“It will also help to transfer knowledge mechanisms. This we strongly believe that it is safer, more stable sustainable path way than one which favours only one part of the livestock system.

“Therefore, for MACBAN, the recent discussions between the CBN’s Development Finance Department and dairy processors is a non-starter,’’ the statement quoted Ngelzarma as saying.

According to him, the challenge is not solved by lending money at nine per cent and requiring dairy companies to go to Kaduna, Niger, Plateau, Kano or Oyo to locate and develop at least 10,000 hectares of land within a grazing reserve commencing on or before September.

Ngelzarma said the association believed that approach did not speak to the aspirations of its members.

He said without the pastoralists, crop farmers, processors, bankers, ranchers, technical workers, extension service providers, geneticists, and other stakeholders being involved, “the likelihood of failure will be very high’’.

Ngelzarma noted that the challenges had deprived the pastoralists from producing high quantity and quality beef and the dairy products demanded by the Nigerian market, ensuring that their goods do not end up being sold at sub-standard prices.

He said that partnering with domestic and foreign value chain actors was critical.

“Whether with fodder and pasture specialists at National Animal Production Institution (NAPRI), Zaria or dairy processors from Europe or cross breeding specialists from Brazil.

“It can also be vaccine developers from the National Veterinary Research Institution (NVRI) Vom in Jos as well as partnership across the livestock ecosystem is a requirement.

“Any plan that does not place such a step at its core is doomed to fail,’’ he said.

The association said that the invitation given to the diary processors to come up with their own plan on how they would develop their dairy farms of at least 10,000 hectares was disturbing.

“This move is disastrous on two counts, firstly, it disregards completely Federal Government approved NLTP.

“The approval that clearly outlines the necessary steps needed to be taken to transform the livestock sub-sector over 10 years in line with the desires and aspirations of all consulted stakeholders.

“Secondly, the need for Federal Government regulations and incentives for the roles of all partners in the transformation processes to achieve the goals of peaceful coexistence between crop farmers and pastoralists.

“Also to enhance the pastoral productivity through organic modernisation of the pastoral production base with capacity to retain their cultural livestock linkage in modernity and innovation for generations to come.

Ngelzarma said that it was important that the spirit of partnership and transparent dialogue with which the NLTP was developed be maintained and should allowed to thrive.

“Transforming Nigeria’s livestock sub sector from a basic, subsistence low technology, conflict-stricken status into a world class, productive, safe and profitable industry devoid of conflicts requires the involvement of all stakeholders including the pastoralists and crop farmers,’’ he  said.

The association, however, urged the CBN to join all-inclusive reformist efforts underway under the NLTP rather than reinvent the wheel once again.

Edited  by Grace Yussuf

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Scientists reveal secrets of sex-changing fish

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An international collaboration led by New Zealand scientists have revealed, for the first time, the secrets of 500 species of fish that change sex, which remained a mystery for decades.

“We may take it for granted that the sex of an animal is established at birth and doesn’t change.

“However, about 500 species of fish change sex in adulthood, often in response to environmental cues,’’ Geneticist Jenny Graves, one of the co-lead author of the research published in Science Advances said on Thursday.

“How sex can reverse so spectacularly has been a mystery for decades.

“The genes haven’t changed, so it must be the signals that turn them off and on,’’ said Graves who has followed the bluehead wrasse for years.

Bluehead wrasses live in groups, on coral reefs of the Caribbean.

A dominant male, with a blue head, protects a harem of yellow females.

He said if the male is removed, the biggest female becomes male, in just 10 days.

She changes her behaviour in minutes, her colour in hours.

Her ovary becomes a testis and by 10 days it is making sperm, according to the findings.

Using the latest genetic approaches, high-throughput RNA-sequencing and epigenetic analyses, the researchers discovered when and how specific genes are turned off and on in the brain and gonad so that sex change can occur.

The study is important for understanding how genes get turned off and on during development in all animals, including humans, and how the environment can influence this process, researchers said.

 

 

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Expert urges stakeholders to invest in Pig rearing, lists benefits

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Expert urges stakeholders to invest in Pig rearing, lists benefits

Piggery

Ibadan, April 25, 2019 Dr Olufunke Oluwole, a Geneticist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, has called on farmers and stakeholders, especially unemployed youths, to go into pig rearing because of its enormous benefits.

Oluwole gave the advice on Thursday in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan.

She said pig rearing was a good source of income and a money spinning business, as pigs are one of the most prolific domestic animals, which could give birth to 4 to 18 piglets in a litter, as against one or two in cattle, sheep and goats.

“It has high feed conversion efficiency, matures early, has short generation intervals, it requires a small space to start small scale production, it could be started with moderate capital on small-scale production and it could also be reared on large-scale, with huge capital.

“The management practices are simple and could be managed effectively on small-scale by members of the family, the droppings or faeces can be used as manure to improve soil fertility for vegetables.

“It is equally important for agro-based industries for the production of bone meals, blood meals, cooking fat, cosmetics and bristles, among others.

“Pigs can be fed with various household wastes such as plantain peels, yam peels, and remnant feeds.

“The animal can be very hardy and is not easily infected with disease, under an intensive system of management and proper hygiene, rearing of pigs do not constitute nuisance to the environment,’’ she said.

According to her, the female pig and boar for reproduction matures at six to eight months, while the gestation period is 115 days.

“The following points should be considered for sexual maturity in pigs: for the boar, a well-developed reproductive organs, high libido, age from seven months upward, for gilt, a well-developed reproductive organ, age from 6 months upwards, weight not less than 40kg.

“Selection of boars should be based on the following: aim of the farmer to know the breed suitable for it, high libido, long body length, strong legs, selection of gilt should be based on aim of the farmers to know the breed suitable for it, number of teats, long body length, good mothering ability, number of litters,” she said.

The Senior Research Fellow further remarked that the artificial insemination of mating pigs which is a new technology for genetic improvement of animals had many advantages over the hand mating.

“The artificial insemination, a means of using processed semen collected from a boar into the female reproductive tract through the use of Catheter, promotes genetic superiority to the herd.

“It requires few or no boar on the farm, thereby reducing the cost of production, it prevents disease transmission because the boar used has been tested and free from disease or germs.

“It makes use of superior boars available for the sows, introduction of new bloodlines to the herd and it’s cheaper than buying a new boar.

“There are 3 stages that are critical for the piglet’s survival during farrowing such as breaking of the sack covering the nose for breathing and taking in oxygen for proper functioning of the lungs and oxygenated blood circulation throughout the blood, for strength.

“Gripping of the leg on the ground for walking to get the first milk for the immune system functioning and then the opening of the eye lids,” she said.

Oluwole advised the farmers to always put the wood shaving that could prevent slippery grounds for the piglets, as this could cause muscle defect that can cause the pig to be paralysed.

“Make sure that the piglets take the first milk from the dam to build or strengthen their immune system before building their own later.

“They start picking on feeds by the third week and they can be given creep-feeds at 4 to 5 weeks of age. The piglets are weaned at 7 to 8 weeks or less, depending on the management,” she said.

Olowole, therefore, urged governments at all levels, farmers, as well as other stakeholders to solve the scarcity of imported exotic breeds, feed unavailability, exposure to modern technology and access to loans, among others, to improve pig production in the country.

 

 

 

 

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Pig rearing: Money spinning business for farmers, Nigeria — expert

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Piggery

A Pig Geneticist at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, Dr Olufunke Oluwole says pig rearing can be a money spinning business for farmers if properly developed.

Oluwole, a Senior Research Fellow who said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NNN) on Tuesday in Ibadan, noted that the industry could also be a money spinner for Nigeria.

According to her, pig is one of the most prolific domestic animals as it can produce between four to 18 piglets compared to one or two in cattle, sheep and goat.

“It has high feed conversion efficiency, matures early and thereby has short generation interval, it requires small space to start for small scale production.

“It could be started with moderate capital on small-scale production and it could also be reared on large-scale with huge capital, the management practices are simple as it could be managed effectively on small-scale by members of the family.

“The droppings or faeces can be used as manure to improve soil fertility for vegetables, the meat is delicious, soft, tasty and palatable. Its equally important for agro-based industries for production of bone meal, blood meal, cooking fat, cosmetics and bristles.

“Pig can be fed with various household wastes such as plantain peel, yam peel, remnant feeds. Its very hardy and not easily infected with disease.

“Under intensive system of management and proper hygiene, rearing of pig doesn’t constitute nuisance to the environment,” she said.

Oluwole noted that the major problem of pig rearing was the detection of estrus or heat as most farmers or farm attendants were not familiar with their pigs and don’t notice when infected with estrus.

She listed signs of estrus to include redness and swelling of vulva, vagina discharge, mounting of other pigs, restlessness/nervousness, erect ears and reflex.

“The estrus can be stimulated by smell of boar spray, extra light, sound or exposure to boar for eye contact with the boar, and change of sow’s pen.

“The estrus can also be stimulated by flushing of sows for egg cell production, giving sugar or molasses 24 hours before insemination to give them energy and increase of protein intake for more egg production.’’

Oluwole said to improve pig production in Nigeria, government, stakeholders and farmers needed to solve the problems being faced by farmers in terms of unavailable imported pure line of exotic breed, and unavailable feed.

Other problems she noted includes farmers’ non exposure to new modern technologies, low industrial companies to sell their products to for processing and marketing, loan unavailability, and diseases occurrence among others.

She, therefore, urged the government to reduce importation tax on livestock for farmers and make the raw materials for production of livestock feed available, reduce the price to make it easy and cheaper for farmers to buy.

“Many farmers need to be exposed to modern technologies in rearing pigs such as artificial insemination, estrus and pregnancy detection.

“This can be done by the stakeholders training the farmers and taking the technologies from the research institutes to them.

“Loans or incentives should be available for farmers by the government to obtain credit facilities and purchase input such as feed and drugs for their pig farming.

“There should be establishment of pig product processing industry that will encourage more farmers to go into pig production, proper bio-security practices on the farm and training of farmers on health and diseases prevention.’’ (NNN)
CC/ENN/EEE

Edited by Edwin Nwachukwu/Ese E. Ekama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

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