Sat, 13 Apr 2024

Society for Animal Health and Improvement (SARI) first Conference

SARI takes a milestone step on animal reproduction towards Nigeria’s economic growth
 
By: News Editor
Sat, 30 Mar 2024   ||   Nigeria,
 

Every great journey begins with a step. A journey of a thousand mile also begins with a step. The Society for Animal Reproduction  and Improvement (SARI) has taken a giant step that will not only shape the field of animal agriculture and livestock farming, but also the socio-economic growth and development of Nigeria.

Built on the idea to resuscitate an inactive Nigerian Society for the Study of Reproduction (NSSR) which was inaugurated in 1978, a group of animal reproductive physiologists and veterinary theriogenologists met on Monday, January 24, 2022, and jointly agreed on floating a new society dedicated to animal reproduction, leading to the birth of the Society for Animal Reproduction  and Improvement (SARI).

After two years of series of deliberations, meetings, and official registration of the society with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) towards the development and growth of the society, SARI held the maiden edition of its conference on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at First Bank Building, University of Ibadan, Oyo State. The conference, themed “Animal Reproduction and Improvement in Retrospection: Towards Sustainable National Development” with the subtheme “Animal Improvement and Challenges of Policy Formulation and Implementation,” overwhelmingly pulled major stakeholders from other societies and associations from the animal agricultural fields, as well as practitioners. At the conference, experts and stakeholders expressed their delight at the newly formed society, while they charged on the need to ensure its progress unlike the defunct NSSR.

In his Welcome Address, the President of SARI, Prof. S. I. Ola of the Department of Animal Sciences, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria, who appreciated the attendance of the stakeholders and explained the efforts to get the new society running since inception, addressed prevailing issues and reasons for the establishment, stating the visions and mission behind the association. According to him, the association was formed to be dedicated to the promotion of science and practise of animal reproduction in Nigeria, expressing the successes and achievements of the association. He explained that the maiden edition of the conference is to ratify the many decisions and steps taken virtually and through correspondences, also emphatically stating that the association is out to make impact in animal production in Nigeria.

Prof. O. A. Osinowo, also in his delivery, expressed hopes that the new generation is determined to have a more compact and more focused society that does not include all comers, adding that the primary responsibility of the society is improving livestock for the nutrition of people thereby, is a specialized group with clear aims and objectives. He pronounced that as a new generation, the challenge before the society is ensuring to make an impact and letting the society know they exist, praying success for the association. Similarly, Prof. Matthew Oyeyemi of the Department of Theriogenology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, who gave reasons for animal improvement, charged stakeholders to engage local breeds without having to talk down on them to appreciate foreign breeds. Oyeyemi encourage the stakeholders to join hands in working on the positive side of “our breed instead of jettisoning them.”

In his words, the President of Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Mr. Raymond Isiadinso, laid his weight behind previous speakers, expressing hopes that SARI will give birth as a multiplier, and give myriad of answers to many questions. As he stated that starting is not always easy, he wished the association well. While representatives of various institutions and associations gave their goodwill messages, they ensured their support for the progress of the animal industry in the country.

Beyond that, the two plenary sessions held were instructive with practical steps to not only move the association forward, but also to drive up stakeholders to the new trends in the industry and how to maximise existing developments. At the first plenary session, the pioneer Registrar of Nigeria Institute of Animal Science and Former President of Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Dr. G. O. Oyediji, stressed the need for practitioners and experts to take the habit of accepting blames and responsibilities for lapses. He continued that the conference was timely for Nigeria in such a period of food insecurity, and insecurity of lives and properties. Raising the challenges that comes with the application of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) to animal and livestock farming, he admitted the abuse of it. Moreover, he acknowledged the growth of animal agricultural industries over the years, saying that there is so much amazement at the equipment in the feed mills in Ibadan today. He however, called for more improvement.

The second plenary speaker, Director, Federal Department of Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, represented by Mr. Ako Joseph, expressed confidence on getting the industry to a great destination judging from the events in SARI. On the industry, he noted that the importance of livestock cannot be overemphasized and as such, giving it due attention will surely bring many people out of poverty line. Giving statistics of the current state of animal production in the country and possible future outcomes, he observed that the challenge of ensuring food security which concerns not only the availability of food quality but also the nutritional quality of food is important to modern Nigeria. He concluded on participation from the grassroot which will create room for implementation of policies.

Questions from the audiences and answers from the speakers followed the plenary sessions. An induction into the hall of fame, in recognition of the eminence and impact in the society and Nigeria at large, was conducted on the founding father of animal production and Theriogenology in Nigeria, Late Prof. Joseph Ukpe Akpokodje, and Late Prof. Gabriel Nwachukwu.

Breakout sessions, breakout group presentations, annual general meeting, adoption of SARI constitution, issuance of membership certificate, presentation of SARI journal, as well as presentation of awards to the plenary speakers characterized the event.

Dignitaries across board in attendance include, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Professor Godwin Oyedele Oyedeji; Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Kunle Ogunwomoju the Technical Director of Farm Support Ltd; President of National Society for Animal Production (NSAP, Prof. O. J. Babayemi; Prof. D. O. Adedibu of Animal Science Department; Registrar/CEO of Nigerian Institute of Animal science, Prof. E.A Iyayi; President of Ghana Society of Animal Production, Prof. Julius Hagan, among other eminent stakeholders and sponsors.

The Society for Animal Reproduction and Improvement (SARI) is a society that intends to bridge the knowledge and practice gaps that exist among animal reproduction practitioners, with the aim to bring about desirable improvement in the livestock and pet animals to the benefits of mankind. SARI stands as a hope for the future of animal reproduction to the end of seeing to the growth of animal industry for the economic growth of Nigeria.

 

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