Project WIFAF – Empowering women with farming and food businesses

Project WIFAF (Women in Food and Farming) is empowering vulnerable rural and peri-urban women with existing (and potential) small-scale food and agro-based businesses to a state of sustainable livelihoods. Target businesses include crop and livestock farming, food production, food processing and other related ventures. Such women who are often a key part of the cycle of agricultural development, food security, and trading are often in helpless poverty-stricken situations, struggling to make ends meet even with their small-scale businesses. These may be due to a myriad of factors such as illiteracy, lack of funding, gender inequality, remote locations, and lack of access to public resources and information. Our goal is to improve their business capacity, provide financial support, expand their production and market base, and promote economic self-sustenance.

We are doing this through the following ways;

  • Training, mentoring and development in vocational and business skills
  • Innovating and improving techniques for sustainable farming, production, processing, packaging and sales of food and agricultural products
  • Identification and connection to viable markets for expansion of small-scale businesses
  • Provision of soft loans and financial support for initiation and/or expansion of SMEs

 

In this video, Mrs. Okeniyi a small-scale vegetable farmer discusses her current challenges and the need for her to expand her farming business to a sustainable level.

 


We are currently receiving applications and referrals to women who fit into the following criteria of WIFAF – Women in Food and Farming;

  • Must have an existing small-scale business in farming or food production. If the woman does not have an existing business, she must have a related skill in this area and must be ready to start a business. Also, we may consider women in other areas apart from Farming and Food production on a case-by-case basis.
  • Must reside in a rural/peri-urban/marginalized community in Nigeria, with low socioeconomic status or in a vulnerable , poverty-related situation. Due to our target and limited resources, we are only considering women with an obvious need for Project WIFAF and we would evaluate all applications/referrals accordingly.

For more information, please contact us via;

Email – info@myanimalmyhealth.org, myanimalmyhealth@gmail.com (kindly copy both emails)

Phone – +2348120320647

 

How much do you know about Milk?

According to Oxford Dictionaries, Milk is an “opaque white liquid rich in fat and protein, secreted by female mammals for the nourishment of their young”. Apart from milk from lactating women, other common sources of milk that we are most familiar with include milk from lactating mammals such as cows, sows, and ewes. (Read our article on ewe milk here). In this regard, the milk is produced in the mammary glands primarily as food for their new-born and young ones. It is considered the best food for new born and young mammals especially in their first few months of life.

Milk has also been declared one of the most nourishing meals in adult human diets necessary for body growth and development. This is because it contains lots of beneficial vitamins and proteins which are integral parts of normal maintenance of body functions. The source of such milk in adult humans is mainly from commercialized production in lactating cows and this is an entire viable industry in the world of food and agriculture.

Milk products are simply known to be food and products derived from milk. Codex Alimentarius defines a milk product as a “product obtained by any processing of milk, which may contain food additives, and other ingredients functionally necessary for the processing”. The range of milk products varies significantly from region to region and among countries in the same region, depending on dietary habits, the milk processing technologies available, market demand, and social and cultural circumstances. In Nigeria, most commercially sold milk-products such as fura and wara originates from the northern part of Nigeria, which is realistic since that is where most cattle herders, farms and managers are located.

According to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), more than 6 billion people worldwide consume milk and milk products and most of these people reside in developing countries. FAO further states that since the early 1960s, per capita milk consumption in developing countries has grown with a twofold increase. However, at this rate, this growth has been significantly slower than other livestock products. Comparatively, egg consumption has increased fivefold and meat consumption has increased threefold.

Milk may be taken in its fresh state or may be processed into liquid and dry forms through commercial production and sales. Generally, liquid milk is the most consumed dairy product throughout the developing world by volume. According to FAO, demand for milk and milk products in developing countries is growing with rising incomes, population growth, urbanization, and changes in diets. This growing demand for milk and milk products offers a good opportunity for producers (and other actors in the dairy chain) in high-potential, peri-urban areas to enhance their livelihoods through increased production. This would be best interests in Nigeria, where most of the milk we consume is imported and this has been pasteurized and processed to either dry or liquid forms. Looking at the vast amount of cattle management and trade especially in northern Nigeria, it is expected that Nigeria should have an equally flourishing milk industry. However, due to a cumulative lack of resources, capacity, government support and knowledge of industry, this industry is virtually non-existent in Nigeria.

 

12 Fun facts about Milk

Below, we have compiled a list of fun facts about milk that we are sure you would find interesting and educative. Read on…

  • The month of June is considered National Diary Month and since 2001, every 1st of June is celebrated as World Milk Day.
  • Adding a pinch of salt to your quart or gallon of fresh milk makes it stay fresh longer
  • A cow produces an average of 6.3 gallons of milk daily, this is more than 2,300 gallons each year and 350,000 glasses of milk in a lifetime!
  • To get the amount of calcium in an 8-ounce glass of milk, you’d have to eat one-fourth cup of broccoli, seven oranges or six slices of wheat bread.
  • U.S. dairy farms produce roughly 21 billion gallons of milk annually while the UK’s annual milk production is about 3.01 billion gallons (13.7 billion litres)
  • The greatest amount of milk produced in one year was 59,298 pounds by a Holstein cow named Robthom Sue Paddy.
  • On a dairy farm, a typical farmer’s day begins and ends with milking the cows.
  • In developed countries, a cow is more valuable for its milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt than for its beef. In Nigeria, a cow is more valuable for its beef and its ability to reproduce than others
  • Cows produce 90 per cent of the world’s milk needs.
  • Louis Pasteur developed pasteurization for beer more than 20 years before he did it for milk.
  • The world’s first commercial dromedary dairy opened in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in 1986, selling camel milk at £1.20 a liter
  • Cow’s milk was first drunk by humans 10,000 years ago in what is now Afghanistan and Iran.


Sources –
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Farm Flavor

Nigeria importing fish amidst abundant ocean resources

Despite having a coastline of 853 km bordering the Atlantic Ocean, as well as fresh and mangrove swamps, creeks, coastal rivers, estuaries, bays, and near and offshore waters, it is ironic that our country, Nigeria, still depends mainly on fish importation to meet most of her fish demands. Out of the 36 Nigerian states, a significant 8 with 25% of Nigeria’s total population, share the Atlantic Ocean coastline – a major fishing resource. Yet, national supply cannot meet national demand.

According to the 2016 Nigeria Fisheries Statistics report, our annual fish demand is estimated at 3.32 million metric tonnes —an unsurprisingly high number considering Nigeria’s teeming population of about 186 million people — but domestic production produces only about 1.12 million metric tonnes. This leaves a deficit of 2.2 million metric tonnes, which is largely supplied by fish importation.

Data source – Fishery Committee for the West Central Gulf of Guinea; Nigeria Fisheries Statistics – 2016 Summary Report, 17 June 2016.

In fact, Nigeria is the fourth largest importer of fish in the world, following China, Japan and the United States. Frozen fish varieties include mackerel (locally called titus or alaran), herrings (locally called shawa), horse mackerel (locally called kote), blue whiting (locally called panla), Argentina silus (locally called ojuyobo) and the popular croaker fish. The country’s top suppliers are the United States and Chile, but fish is also sourced from Europe, Asia, and a few African countries, including Mauritania, Algeria, and Mauritius.

“In an ideal situation, importing these fish should not be happening in Nigeria since we already have the resources and potential for a fish industry that can meet our consumption demands and even provide exports” says Dr. Flora Olaifa, an Associate Professor of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Faculty of Agriculture in the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. She attributes the gap in local supply to the fact that that Nigeria has not given enough support to its own industries, and it is only due to the recent government calls for industry diversifications that people are beginning to see the agricultural sector – fisheries inclusive – as a profitable industry.

Exports of fish, when they do happen, are comparably far lower than imports. According to Dr. Olajide Ayinla, President of the Fisheries Society of Nigeria and former Executive Director of the Nigerian Institute of Oceanography and Marine Research (NIOMR), Nigeria hardly exports pelagic fish, but some companies do export shrimps and smoked catfish derived from aquaculture.

The issue of imports exceeding exports in Africa is not confined to Nigeria alone; however, other African countries like Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are supplied by fellow African countries, Morocco and Namibia. In fact, two-thirds of Ghana’s fish supply is from these exporting African countries. A report from the Food and Agriculture Organization indicates that these fish imports are largely “composed of low value small pelagic fish (horse mackerel, mackerel and sardinellas)”. These are highly ubiquitous in both urban and rural food markets in Nigeria and are the most common types of fish consumed by the average Nigerian.

 

Source – Food and Agriculture Organization; Fish Trade in Africa: An Update; 2015.

 

Investigating the paradox

So why does Nigeria, like other African countries, still depend largely on foreign importation to meet local fish demand?

Ocean resources, when exploited sustainably, have the potential to provide wide ranging benefits, however, Nigeria has been unable to realize these potential gains especially in the case of fish and seafood production. Commercial or industrial fishing takes place far off-shore, in the high seas, and is primarily conducted using fish trawlers—fishing net equipment that is actively dragged through water using one or more trawlers attached to a fishing vessel. Both Dr. Ayinla and Dr. Ngozi Oguguah, a Principal Researcher at NIOMR raised valid concerns about fish trawling because it negatively impacts the ocean ecosystem, destroys the ocean floor, and prematurely kills young marine life. Instead, they suggested, if trawling must be done at all, regulations must be enforced to ensure that nets have larger selective mesh size with appropriate shapes to target only the needed fish.

Despite these concerns, industrial fishing contributes very little to domestic fish production. Instead, fish production primarily comes via artisanal fishing practices and aquaculture. According to this 2017 report on Nigeria’s fish production by the National Bureau of Statistics, out of 5.79 million tonnes of fish produced between 2010 and 2015 in Nigeria,  industrial production of fish and shrimp is summed up to 204,403 metric tonnes. As seen in the graph below, when compared with fish production from the other sectors – artisanal and aquaculture, industrial fishing contributes only 4%.

Data source – National Bureau of Statistics; Nigeria’s Fish Production (2010 – 2015), February 2017

 

When asked about the low output from industrial fishing, Dr. Ayinla said industrial fishing is not as productive as expected because most people in the business cannot afford the vessels and equipment required for intense commercial fishing on the high seas. “Most current fishing vessels in Nigeria are old and are only capable of fishing at 0 to 50 meters below sea level,” he said, “and this range is only considered suitable for artisanal fishing, thereby limiting capability of resource exploitation on the high seas”.

The 2017 Country brief update on Nigeria by the FAO echoes this opinion, stating that the industrial fisheries sector in Nigeria previously made some progress but now they consist of mainly ageing fleet and infrastructure.

Dr. Ayinla also mentioned that because of extensive importation of fish and poor government regulations, investment in industrial fishing in Nigeria has long dwindled. Therefore, the high seas are now mostly explored by foreign vessels who own larger and more suitable fishing vessels, but most of whom operate illegally. It’s a similar problem faced by many coastal countries in sub-Saharan Africa: foreign industrial fleets operate in deep waters, while most Africa-based marine fishing fleets are artisanal.

Sea robbery and piracy remains another big obstacle to industrial fishing on the high seas. Dr. Oguguah cited a personal experience of sea piracy while she was aboard a fishing vessel conducting research and states that this issue has discouraged many people from exploring expansion opportunities in the industry.

Another pertinent issue limiting industrial fishing in Nigerian oceans is pollution, especially oil spillage and biological waste. Oil spillage is particularly prevalent in the Niger Delta region, which is reputed to be the second largest delta in the world with a 450km coastline and is characterized by rivers, creeks, and the Atlantic Ocean. According to Dr. Olaifa, who has conducted vast research on the effects of oil spillage in the Niger Delta, crude oil spills cause a fast and direct kill of fish and other aquatic life. Some by-effects of the oil spill may occur over a longer period, causing changes in the ocean environment which may in turn lead to gradual damage and change to the biology and organs of fish and aquatic life in the ocean. Dr. Olaifa further explains that it is a frequent occurrence to see captured fish exhibiting symptoms such as mucous, slime, oily sheen, or discolored skin and gills in this region. The polluted ocean and water environments of the Niger Delta, which have been so poorly conserved, have become unproductive and unable to sustain aquatic life.

 

The Impact of fish importation on Nigeria

  • Health Impact

Of all flesh foods, fish is the most susceptible to tissue decomposition and microbial spoilage because they begin to deteriorate as soon as they leave the water. Therefore, a lot of imported fish are preserved by freezing and applying preservatives such as sodium tripolyphosphate (also known as Pentasodium Triphosphate or STPP) and sodium benzoate. These make fish and other seafood appear firmer, glossier, and smoother.

Although it is generally regarded as a safe product if used according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), research by Ritz et al (2012) has revealed that STPP is a health risk as it may harm normal renal function in the body and worsen incidence of kidney diseases in humans. Since the release of this report, various health and food safety agencies have made calls for a careful consideration and public education of the health impacts of these preservatives.

Furthermore, in Nigeria, it has been reported severally that smugglers without an import license flood the market with contraband and compromised frozen fish through Nigeria’s porous land borders. An officer of the Nigeria Customs Service who spoke on the condition of anonymity stated that fish smuggling into Nigeria is quite common due to oversight, importers avoiding import duty fees and corruption of some custom officers. The Officer went on to say that most times, the smuggled fish may have been compromised such that they do not meet quality control standards in terms of production, storage, and quality. It may be that the fish were improperly stored, have passed storage time limits, or were stored with a counterfeit preservative like formalin. Drs. Ayinla, Olaifa and Oguguah all claimed knowledge of these smuggling practices affirming that a lot of imported fish being sold in the market were smuggled. Selling such unhealthy fish for public consumption exposes Nigerian consumers to potential health problems.

  • Socioeconomic impact

As mentioned earlier, most of the fish consumed in Nigeria is imported from foreign countries, reaching more than 2 million tonnes annually. The FAO’s 2017 Country Brief on Nigeria stated that in 2013 total fish imports amounted to 1.2 billion dollars, a figure that Dr. Olaifa says increased to 1.4 billion dollars the following year. By importing such a massive amount of fish annually, Nigeria loses foreign exchange and continues to harm her economy. These losses also stunt the growth and development of trade in local fish industries.

“On the other hand,” continued Dr. Olaifa, “if this remarkable amount of money spent on importation could be channeled for internal trade within our local fish industry, it would bolster the industry’s efforts and generally boost our economy”.

So, can Nigeria still develop and maintain a vibrant fish production industry that will meet consumer demand?

Experts are hopeful, but only if the country endeavors to holistically develop all areas of fish production, including aquaculture, artisanal, and industrial (ocean) fisheries. Currently, said Dr. Ayinla, all efforts are being made to improve the fish industry, especially in aquaculture. He is optimistic that aquaculture will create the sustainability and food security needed for the fish industry while conserving ocean and other water resources.

“We have been promoting aquaculture – focusing on catfish and tilapia production for now – and we are making good progress and seeing the positive results already with improved food security, better nutrition, and creating jobs.” he said. “The ocean, rivers and other fishing mediums would also be able to recover from excess fishing and be conserved”. He also emphasized the need for enforcement of regulations and policies that would favor domestic fish production.

According to Dr. Olaifa, Nigeria has a huge potential to meet local fish demand through increased domestic fish production especially with the kind of resources we have on ground. “If these resources are well managed,” she said, “it will promote entrepreneurship, create employment opportunities, improve our economy and foreign exchange through contribution to GDP and ultimately reduce the need for fish importation”.

 

This story was produced with support from Internews’ Earth Journalism Network

Investigation and report by Kikiope Oluwarore

How to manage Heat Stress in Poultry

​Heat stress is a condition in poultry farms that happens when high temperatures affect the optimum productivity of the birds. This especially happens when the high temperature is combined with relative humidity and low air speed. A few predisposing factors to this condition include genetics, feather cover, heat changes, relatively high drinking water temperature and inadequate water supply. Generally, older birds, heavy poultry breeds, and broilers are more susceptible to heat stress.

Heat stress is particularly common in Nigeria because of our hot climate and can affect birds in both rainy and dry season. Although naturally, the rainy season would have more impact than the dry season. Also, it happens frequently because a lot of poultry farmers are quite fond of overstocking their farms thereby reducing space per chicken.  For example, if the stocking density is too high for the size and design of house and ventilation equipment, the temperature may rise dangerously since there will be more metabolic heat being added to the house air than was planned for. Radiant transfer from bird to bird is then greater and stagnant hot air is trapped between the birds.

Severe heat stress can cause drops in production efficiency and even mass death of chicken in the flock or poultry farm. You may notice reduced growth rates, reduced egg production, and decreasing hatching rates. Heat stress can also cause a change in egg quality such as smaller eggs, thinner shells and overall poor internal egg quality. Overall, this adversely affects the profit from the poultry enterprise.

How do you know your poultry birds are suffering from heat stress?

If you notice any of the following symptoms in your chickens, they could be exhibiting classical signs of heat stress:

  • Labored breathing and panting
  • Pale combs/wattles
  • Lifting wings away from body
  • Signs of weakness or lethargy
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures/convulsions

How do you manage heat stress on your poultry farm?

Find below easy and practical management ways to manage cases of heat stress on your farm. This list is not exhaustive but they are sure to reduce the impact of heat stress on your birds.

  1. Check for any other cause of death with related symptoms e.g., Chronic Respiratory Disease (CRD)
  2. Check the stocking density of the birds and reduce if necessary. Prevent overcrowding the birds whether in resident on the farm or in transit.
  3. Avoid unnecessary activity and take care not to disturb them during the hottest times of the day.
  4. Measure temperature of the drinking water. If it is more than 25 degrees, flush the lines regularly. Also, check your water tanks to see if are protected against the sun; if not, place or block the water tanks away from the sun to prevent the sun from warming and increasing water temperatures.
  5. Feed only early in the morning and late afternoon, when environmental temperatures are cooler and remove feed when it is getting hot.
  6. Reduce the percentage of protein in the feed and provide more fatty acids.
  7. Administer heat stress medication such as vitamin C.
  8. Provide the birds with extra ventilation. It would be beneficial to invest in fans for this.
  9. Check feed for mycotoxins.
  10. Provide food in pellets instead of mash, because they can digest the former easier.
  11. Acidify the drinking water to prevent against salmonella.
  12. Remember to call and consult with your veterinarian.

 

Thanks to Dr. Lanre Olaifa, a Veterinarian and Avian Pathologist, for his contribution to this article.

Vaccination Program For Your Poultry Farm

If you are well experienced in animal management or livestock farming, then you definitely understand the full impact and importance of vaccination. Vaccination in simple terms means to administer a vaccine that will provide immunity or prevent an infection in humans or animals, while a vaccine is an “antigenic substance prepared from the causative agent of a disease or a synthetic substitute, used to provide immunity against one or several diseases”. Vaccination has many advantages, some of which include the following;

  • Vaccination is mostly less complicated and cheaper (cost-effective) to administer compared to actually having to treat an animal for a disease.
  • Vaccination preserves the life of your animals and maintains the quality of their life.
  • Vaccination is a key biosecurity measure that keeps you rest assured that your animals are safeguarded against any infection or epidemic.
  • Vaccination may improve the efficiency of conversion of food and water into animal proteins and other essential nutrients
  • Vaccination stimulates the animal’s own defence system and prepares the animal to better resist the impact of a pathogenic microorganism it may encounter later in life.

Based on popular demand, we are presenting vaccination template for poultry farms, specifically for commercial layers. We will keep you updated on subsequent articles for vaccination programs for dogs, cats, cattle etc.

Please note that vaccination regimes may vary slightly from farm to farm and from region to region. It is left for you to do a proper research on what works best for your farm’s climate Also, note that broilers can use this vaccination regimen but their vaccination can end on day 24 or 27 since they don’t typically stay too long on the farm before being sold of as chicken meat for consumption.

If you have questions or inquirie on this vaccination programs, don’t forget to contact us via email on myanimalmyhealth@gmail.com or just call/whatsapp us on +2348120320647.

DAYS WEEKS VACCINE/MEDICATION ROUTES OF ADMINISTRATION
Hatch day   Marek’s At hatchery
Day 1 1 Infectious bronchitis Spraying
Day 1-5 1 Antibiotics +vitamin Water solution
Day 8 2 1st IBD Gumbo L Water solution or Eyes
Day 10 2 ND+IBD killed(0.2ml) Subcutaneous
Day 12 2 ND and Infectious bronchitis (variant) Water solution
Day 15 3 2nd IBD ( Cevac IBDL) Water solution or Eyes
Day 21 4 3rd IBD Water solution
Day 24 4 Newcastle
Day 27 4 Tylodox 5/7 Water solution
Day 42 7 Infectious bronchitis Oral
Day 54 8 Fowl pox Wing web
Day 61 9 Deworming Water solution
Day 70 10 Infectious bronchitis
Day 73 11 Deworming Water solution
Day 82 12 Tylodox 5/7 Water solution
Day 84 12 Debeaking Water solution
Day 112 16 ND +IB+EDS Intramuscular
Day 117 17 Antibiotics Water solution

 

 

 

Horse, Donkey, Mule? – Spot the differences

Horse, Donkey, Mule? – Spot the differences

At first glance, horses, donkeys, and mules appear very similar, because in reality they are closely related and share common characteristics. However, they are also different in many ways, each having its own uniqueness that is suited to its livelihood and survival. Nonetheless, their close resemblance necessitates the need  for us to obtain a better understanding by looking at the many specific differences.

Horses (Equus caballus)

  • Stallion – Male horse; Mare – Female horse
  • Horses tend to have shorter ears and longer faces than donkeys and mules and its tail and mane grows soft and flowing long hair from a short stub. Also, horse’s hooves are larger than donkey’s hooves
  • Agewise, horses can be expected to live 25 to 30 years.
  • A horse makes whinny sounds
  • Horses are herd animals and tend to spend their time in large groups. Also, they are plain animals by nature and use quick bursts of speed to quickly flee from perceived danger. This behavior is why horses are commonly described as “flighty”.
  • Horses have 64 chromosomes.
  • A mare’s gestation period is an expected 11-month time period, shorter than Jenny’s (female donkey)
  • Horses do fairly well when left to their own devices. However, they do need a steady water and food supply and tend to stay in herds where they can protect each other.
  • Historically, horses were primarily used as transportation for humans, racing in sports, or labor. On farms, horses could be used to pull plows and perform other tasks.

Donkeys (Equus asinu)

Donkey
  • Donkey – worldwide common name for the Ass family

Jack, Jack Ass, or Jackass – an intact male of the ass family or male donkey

Jennet or Jenny – the female of the ass family or female donkey

Donkey Gelding or Gelded Jack – castrated male of the ass family or castrated donkey

  • Donkeys have visibly longer ears than horses and mules, and the hair that makes up their manes is stiff, bristly and noticeably rougher than others. Their hooves are smaller as well and they have a flat back which can often not hold a saddle. A donkey tail is long with short, coarse hair along the length of it that ends in a furry tuft. Donkeys lack a protective undercoat that horses have, so they are more susceptible to extreme weather conditions such as heavy, wet snow and rain when compared to horses. They make up for this by having air pockets between their hairs that protects them against the extreme cold or hot weather.
  • Donkeys live much longer than horses, with an average life span of 30 to 50 years.
  • Donkeys make braying sounds.
  • Donkeys are less social and tend to form bonds with only one other of their kind. They are also more sedate creatures, difficult to scare.
  • Donkeys have 62 chromosomes, fewer than horses.
  • Donkey’s pregnancy times are longer. and a Jennys’ pregnancy can range between 11 and 14 months.
  • The donkey is adapted to desert lands or mountainous hardy areas and have lower water needs which helps them thrive in these environments. They also tend to spread out over large areas and can defend themselves by biting or striking other animals.
  • Historically, donkeys have been used primarily as working animals. Donkeys are also known to be intelligent, cautious, and playful, making them perfect for both companions and workers. As fairly strong animals, they were used by people around the world to help with carrying and other tasks of labor primarily in areas where there was a lack of water.

 

Mules

  • A mule is the result or offspring of a horse that has been bred with a donkey.
  • Mules are sterile, meaning that they cannot reproduce and cannot be bred with each other. Spermatozoa are not produced in the testes of male mules as a result of incompatibility between paternal and maternal chromosomes (horse and donkey)
  • In appearance, mules look very similar to donkeys. They also have stiff hair, are strong animals and tend to have calmer personalities. Due to their hardiness and vigor, mules may be often used as pack animals.
  • They have 63 chromosomes.
  • Although mules can survive in a similar environment as donkeys, they do not have a natural environment since they are the offspring of a donkey mating with a horse.
  • Historically, mules were traditionally used as farm or pack animals, especially useful on mountain trails. Their strong stamina made them a practical animal for a variety of tasks. Mules also eat about a third less per day than a horse of the same size and have decreased water needs too. This means that they can work longer without needing as much water or food. They also work well on basic forages like grass hays, which is an asset when food is scarce.
Sources – Ponder Weasel, Second Opinion

 

MyAnimal,MyHealth launches Project #FisheriesNigeria

Great News!!!

MyAnimal,MyHealth launches a new investigative work in Nigeria as Project #FisheriesNigeria. This project will conduct investigations and provide reportage on the current state of Nigeria’s largely untapped fish/aquatic industry and the implications of over-reliance on fish importation. Our investigations will seek to understand the following among others;

  • To determine the socioeconomic and health implications of Nigeria’s long-term reliance on fish importation
  • To investigate and discuss the conservation state and productivity of major ocean and water resources in Nigeria.
  • To discuss the opportunities and importance of a sustainable and thriving local fish industry that can meet consumer demands in Nigeria.

Project #FisheriesNigeria is being supported by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network.

For contributions, contact or inquiries on this project, do contact us via phone on +2348120320647 or via email on myanimalmyhealth@gmail.com.

Thinking of starting a poultry farm? Know the types and breeds of birds to raise

Out of the many livestock farming ventures in Nigeria, poultry remains one of the most common and most profitable. For a naïve person willing to start a poultry farm for commercial purposes, knowing what type and breed of birds to raise can be quite confusing. And it is very important for every prospective poultry farmer to understand this so that the birds can give you your expected outcomes. Therefore, read on as we discuss the common type and breeds of poultry birds, and their varying characteristics.

Type of poultry birds

  1. Layers
  2. Broilers
  3. Cockerels

The Layers poultry bird type are used majorly for commercial egg production and with regards to this, there are different breeds of layers that are highly productive comparatively with one another.

The Broilers poultry bird type are a group of rapidly growing poultry birds that are reared for the sole aim of meat production. They gain the required slaughter weight within a very short period of time and the cost of rearing them could be high. Basically, they are meant for commercial production of meats.

The cockerels; they are a group of hardy poultry birds that are also meant for meat production. The demand for the meat produced by cockerels is usually subjected to preferences and individual differences. Cockerels grow slower compared to other poultry bird types but they thrive well in almost all types of environment.

 

Common breeds of poultry birds in Nigeria

  1. Isa Brown – The Isa Brown layers are highly suitable for poultry farmers in Nigeria because they are a group of bird that is highly adaptable to various climatic conditions which makes them suitable for the hot weather condition that is prevalent in Nigeria . Isa brown layers have a great feed conversion ration which results in the farmer making huge financial gains because of the quantity and quality of eggs they produce. They rarely become broody. Below are some of the features of the Isa Brown Layers that make them highly profitable for the farmer;

Features and Advantages of Isa brown

  • Livability is 94%
  • Average egg weight is 62g
  • Laying period is 18 to 90 weeks
  • Peak percentage is 96%
  • Average feed consumption per day is 110g
  • Age at 50% production is 144 days.
  • They are reared in different environmental condition
  • They are very prolific.
  • They have very good conversion rate

Disadvantages of Isa brown layers.

  • Egg color could be variable
  • Careful feeding is important to meet the demand of egg production.
  • Prone to egg binding, prolapse and peritonitis
Breed of Chicken – Isa brown
  1. Delkab-Amberlink – The Dekalb Amberlink is a Well Balanced and an all-round performance poultry bird. Often referred to as a champion egg layer with very strong and very brown eggs. The result is a predictable and proven profit. Delkab-Amberlink is white in color with some strains of brown color on them

As a poultry farmer and you are searching for a brown egg layer that looks good, ranges freely and offers the chance for an extended laying period, then this breed of layers bird which is hybrid is suitable for such purposes.

Features and advantages of this breed include the following,

  • Liveability is 94.8%
  • Peak of production is 95%
  • Average egg weight is 60.7g
  • Average feed intake is 114g/day
  • Age at 50% production is 142 days.

Disadvantages of the Delkab-Amberlink include the following,

  • They are prone to egg binding and prolapse
  • Careful implementation of feeding regimen so as not to distort the laying of eggs.
  • Laying can be unpredictable after the first year
  • They don’t make reliable brooders if the farmer wants to hatch some eggs.
  • They have a smaller egg weight
Breed of Chicken – Dekalb Amberlink

 

  1. Bovans Black –  They are hybrid laying birds that were gotten from crosses between pure breeds. They are usually light, grows very fast with good conversion rate. They are highly adaptable layer breeds known for optimal technical. The Disadvantages that can be observed in the Bovans black are discussed as follows,
  • They are bad brooders once the farmers wants to hatch some eggs.
  • They are prone to egg-binding and prolapse
  • They have poor feed conversion when compared to the Isa brown layers

Breed of Chicken – Bovans Black

UN declares World Bee Day… among others

On December 21, 2017, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) welcomed the UN’s decision to create a “World Bee Day” among other important resolutions. In the same tone, the United Nations also chose to celebrate a decade on family farming, a day to promote the awareness of the need to combat illegal fishing, and resolved to declare international years for camelids and artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.

From now on, May 20 will mark World Bee Day.

And 2019 will mark the beginning of the UN Decade of Family Farming, drawing more attention to the people who produce more than 80% of the world’s food but whose own members, paradoxically, are often the most vulnerable to hunger.

2024, meanwhile, will be the International Year of Camelids.

The UN General Assembly on Wednesday approved three new resolutions that task FAO with leading organizational and information-sharing roles. Not only do pollinators, smallholders and camelids contribute directly to food security, but they are key levers for conserving biodiversity, another cornerstone of the Sustainable Development Goals. Earlier this month, the General Assembly had also proclaimed an international day to celebrate the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and an international year to promote artisanal fisheries and aquaculture.

World Bee Day

Bees and other pollinators – including butterflies, bats and hummingbirds – allow many plants, including many food crops, to reproduce.

May 20 has now been chosen for the annual day as it is the birthday of Anton Janša, who in the 18th century pioneered modern beekeeping techniques in his native Slovenia – which led the push for the celebration –  and praised the animal for its ability to work so hard while needing so little attention.

The honeybee in particular has been a workhorse, not only as a pollinator able to visit around 7,000 flowers a day but also as a provider of honey – coveted for millennia as food and medicine – and for offering livelihood opportunities requiring little capital or land ownership. FAO has included training in beekeeping in multiple rural development projects from Azerbaijan to Niger and is leading the assembly of a data base on pollination services around the world. Today, pollinators have an additional contribution to make to food security as they not only foster plant life but serve as sentinels for emergent environmental risks, signalling the health of local ecosystems. Invasive insects, pesticides, land-use change and monocropping practices that may reduce available nutrients all pose threats to bee colonies.

So, who will be celebrating the World Bee Day with us next May 20?

 

Adapted from FAO World Bee Day

Unhealthy Abattoirs In Nigeria – Recommendations And Solutions

In our previous articles, we thoroughly discussed the dire issues of unhealthy abattoirs in Nigeria, using the Bodija Abattoir in Ibadan as a case study. Here, we elucidated on their poor environmental state and the unscrupulous meat processing activities carried out by the butchers. We also discussed the shady acts of selling infected meat, a common practice in Nigerian abattoirs where meat and offal infected with diseases such as tuberculosis, worms, brucellosis etc., are smuggled to be sold to the public for consumption. Through our investigations, we now understand more clearly the high public health risk that this presents for the large meat-consuming population of Nigeria.

To further buttress our findings on abattoirs in Nigeria, we carried out some field and laboratory tests over a period of one month. Samples were collected from animals that are being slaughtered at the abattoir and whose meat are being transported for sale at the meat markets. As part of our findings, on a daily basis we identified at least 7 meat and offal with lesions that showed classical TB infections. (Of course, there may have been several others that were not brought to our attention). These meat samples were further inspected at the laboratory and were confirmed by gross pathology and H&E examination respectively for tuberculosis. Also, we randomly collected fecal samples from cattle at the abattoir and tested them for worm infestation. Helminth tests revealed that about 25% of the total fecal samples examined tested positive for various worm eggs as indicative of worm infestations.

It is important to note that these diseases are zoonotic (that is, can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa) and cooking does not always kill all the micro-organisms every time. Indeed, Cadmus et al confirms in his report that there is the spread of Mycobaterium bovis in humans in Nigeria with Mycobaterium bovis being the strain of tuberculosis that is specific for cattle and usually found in meat. Other zoonotic diseases that can be transmitted to humans include, leptospirosis, anthrax, salmonellosis etc

 

 #AbattoirNigeria – Our message to you on safe meat consumption

 

Recommendations for standard abattoirs and healthier abattoir practices

Whether for health reasons or for aesthetic reasons, it is highly expedient that this issue of unhealthy abattoirs be resolved finally. Based on the public reactions and outcry garnered from previous reports in this series, we can all collectively agree that it is indeed a national disgrace to have our abattoir where some of our staple food is produced in such unhealthy and filthy states. Therefore, it is the collective jobs of all and sundry to ensure that practical solutions are carried out for a systematic positive change in our abattoirs. We hereby propose the following recommendations;

  • There should be a complete overhaul and rehabilitation of the entire Abattoir System in Nigeria and this should be in tandem with global standards.
  • The government at all levels should employ more veterinarians and other relevant officials to serve the purpose of inspecting meat at all times so as to make available wholesome meat fit for human consumption. In the same tone, existing meat hygiene laws and policies must be enforced at all abattoirs around the country.
  • Compensatory systems should be available to butchers as this will encourage butchers and cattle farmers with diseased animals that are meant for slaughter to surrender the animals to the appropriate authorities for condemnation.
  • Ante-mortem inspection and quarantine measures should be strictly adopted to prevent diseased animals from being slaughtered in abattoirs in the first place
  • Butchers should be trained on the importance of maintaining a standard and healthy abattoir system, on WASH principles and the use of personal protective equipment for their work. Socio-cultural myths and practices that are not beneficial in their line of work should also be addressed.
  • All meat consumers should endeavor to look out for the type of meat products they buy and consume. Also, be concerned about the production phase at the abattoir and call out any unscrupulous activity by any butcher that has the risk of jeopardizing consumer health.
  • Individuals, professional groups, societies, and NGOs should continue to advocate for abattoir restructuring even as they get the attention of the government and appropriate authorities.

Together, we can answer the urgent call to protect the ourselves from various infectious and zoonotic diseases that are gotten from unhealthy consumption of meat and offal in abattoirs. In this holiday season, eat healthy and stay healthy.

 

The #AbattoirNigeria report series is supported by the ImpactAFRICA Fund and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation