IITA, others to proffer sustainable alternatives to livestock feeds

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By Ibukun Emiola

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) has partnered with other organisations to train entrepreneurs on sustainable alternatives to livestock feed.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports the opening of the Insects4Feed Entrepreneurship Incubation Programme, held in Ibadan on Monday, was organised by IITA Business Incubation Platform (BIP), University of Ibadan(UI), New Generation Nutrition(NGN) and ProEnto.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of a 13-week incubation programmme, Chief Executive Officer, IITA BIP, Dr Debo Akande, said the training was designed to provide a sustainable and affordable animal protein source for livestock feed for industries and users.

Akande, who also doubles as the Executive Adviser to Oyo State Governor on Agribusiness, said the insect-fed project was a new structured project in Nigeria supported by the Dutch Government and other partners.

“Now, we are training the entrepreneurs that would be like the first pilot of the people that would be like the venture owners of this business within the state.

“When we see how they have grown, it will become a project that would be expanded beyond this place.”

Akande said that one of the benefits of the programme was that it could complement the challenges of livestock feeds and replace some other materials that are expensive and non-environmentally friendly.

“The other advantage is that this animal consumed solid waste so it could help solve the problem of solid waste that littered the environment and thereby solve the environmental issues.

“It also makes use of materials that are natural to our environment.

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“This also fits into the plan of Gov. Oluwaseyi Makinde in expanding the horizon of agriculture in the state from doing normal to peculiar from the usual to the unusual terrain,” he said.

In her address, Mrs Marian Peters from NGN, said the programme was unique, urging the participants to take advantage of it by working together and utilising the knowledge gained to produce affordable feeds for livestock in Nigeria.

One of the facilitators from UI, Dr Kehinde Thomas, said the training was to balance development and support food security through the provision of alternative protein components for livestock feeds, especially poultry and aquaculture by using Black Soldier Fly.

“Research has shown that the insect particularly the Black Soldier Fly is the best alternative to high-cost protein component in livestock feeds as it is environmentally friendly while bringing money to the purses of people.

The idea is to multiply this innovation among smallholder farmers in poultry,” Thomas said.

In an interview, the BIP IITA Team lead for the Insect4feed project, Mrs Victoria Ayeni, said the expectation from the participants was that at the end of the hands-on training, each of them would own an insect4feed farm where they produce insect4feed in mass for the livestock industry in Nigeria.

One of the beneficiaries of the programe, a retired diplomat, Amb. Sola Akinlude, appreciated the organisers of the training adding that the knowledge gained would be used to expand his agribusiness.

Akinlude stated that there were lots of benefits in agriculture that people could take advantage of to enrich themselves and become employers of labour. (NAN)

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