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Institute of Agricultural Research Calls for More Veterinarians to Support Nigeria’s Livestock Population

The Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T) in Ibadan has highlighted the urgent need for an increased number of veterinarians in Nigeria to adequately serve the country’s growing livestock population. Professor Veronica Obatolu, the Executive Director of the Institute, emphasized this need during a certificate presentation ceremony for 24 veterinary para-professionals who received training in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

The event witnessed the presence of notable figures including Dr. Muhinda Otto, FAO Nigeria Country Representative; Dr. Holly Hufnagel, Global Project Coordinator for FAO Africa Region; Professor Adebayo Banire, Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University (represented by Deputy Vice Chancellor Professor Akinyemi Akanni); and AIG Dr. Aishatu Abubakar Baju, President of the Veterinary Council of Nigeria.

Obatolu addressed the gathering, highlighting the shortfall of veterinarians in the country and the pressing need to address this issue. She explained that the seven-month training program aimed to equip veterinary para-professionals with the skills to attend to basic animal health needs, especially in rural areas where smallholder farmers and livestock keepers often lack access to veterinarians.

Furthermore, Obatolu stressed the importance of collaboration among stakeholders in the animal health sector to promote a thriving and prosperous livestock industry in Nigeria.

She stated, “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 paraprofessionals to livestock healthcare training cannot be overemphasized. It is a known fact that the population of veterinarians in the country today cannot serve efficiently the livestock producing population.”

Dr. Muhinda Otto, in a conversation with journalists, emphasized the significance of the training in enhancing the capacity of veterinary para-professionals to address the healthcare needs of livestock, particularly in rural areas where access to veterinary doctors is limited.

This initiative underscores the critical role veterinarians and para-professionals play in ensuring the health and well-being of Nigeria’s livestock population, which is vital for the country’s food security and agricultural development.

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