Varsity researchers record breakthrough, beg FG to abandon importation of grasses from Brazil

Posted by Boniface Okoro, Umuahia | 16 March 2016 | 2,493 times

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Researchers at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), Abia State, say they have recorded a breakthrough in the manufacturing of animal feeds from wastes.

The researchers from the Centre for Life-Enzyme and Fine Chemical Research (Waste Management, Utilisation and Pollution Control) of MOUAU said the breakthrough resulted from painstaking 15-year research efforts which have the potentials to end the clashes between farmers and nomadic cattle rearers while also ridding Nigerian cities of filth.

The Centre said it lacks the fund for commercial production of the feeds and, therefore, wants the Federal Government to invest in local production of animal feeds from wastes rather than embark on importation of grasses from Brazil to feed animals in the country.

The Coordinator of the Centre, Prof. Nnamdi Anigbogu, told newsmen in Umuahia on Tuesday that with about N40 million, Nigeria could build a mill for production of feeds for the 13 million cattle in the country and other animals.

Anigbogu, a Professor of Animal Science, said the N40 million includes money that would be spent in provision of four refuse bins in every home to facilitate source separation of wastes and their collections and transfer to the manufacturing plant.

“Recently, the Federal Government has been talking about importing grasses from Brazil in order to feed our life stocks such as cattle, goat sheep, etc. And we at this Centre are strongly against it. We have in abundance, wastes such as saw dust and municipal waste which we can use to feed these animals, under the intensive system of management in order to have efficient productivity,” said Anigbogu, who is also the Director of Project Development and Revenue Generation at MOUAU.

He added: “These are troublesome wastes which give the municipal governments problems to dispose and it costs millions of Naira to do so. But our researches at Umudike have proven that these wastes could be used as feeds without any problem. We convert them into life enzymes and then use them as components of feeds for these animals and the quantity of wastes, about nine million tons annually, we are having is not even enough to feed the 13 million cattle we have in the country.”

He explained that the production process would include fermenting the wastes with bacteria from snails and waste water from fish ponds; drying same and making it as a component of feeds, pallating and bagging it and delivering the product to the nomadic herdsmen so that they can stay in a place and feed their animals.

Speaking on the advantages of manufacturing animal feeds from waste locally, Anigbogu pointed out that it would conserve scarce foreign exchange, create employment and also save money for the municipal governments saddled with the responsibility of disposing these wastes.

“It also generates income for the farmers and helps control pollution which we are currently facing; the problem between the nomadic Hausa Fulani and the farmers will end because they take it (feeds) in such a way that will not be moving from one place to another, destroying farmlands. This will improve the education of their children because they are no more walking about,” he added.

The veteran researcher disclosed that the research into production of animal feeds from wastes has been on from 2001 till date, with microbes and different waste waters, yielding huge successes.

“So, we don't see why we should import grass from Brazil to feed our cattle, goat, sheep,” he said.

The Centre, Prof. Anigbogu said, has made concerted efforts to reach the Federal Government for partnership but to no avail, stressing that the capital outlay for building a big fermentation vat is beyond the university.

“We cannot afford the money because it is no longer on a small scale. You have to crush, ferment, dry before you pallate. We will require about N40 million to go into commercial production. The municipal waste will be from source separation. It will require keeping three dust bins in every home, one will be for irons, the second will be for plastics and the third for organic composition, wastes that can be degraded. So once the collection vehicle comes, the organic wastes will be collected and taken straight to the recycling plant,” he said.

The university don noted that local manufacturing of animal feeds is a money spinner, expressing optimism that “the revenue will double the amount invested annually because the raw material is free, the cost is less.” “And again, it is going to save money for the municipal governments which budget millions of naira for waste disposal,” he added.

•Photo shows Prof. Nnamdi Anigbogu.

Source: News Express

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