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Olalekan Sipasi

Department and School: Animal Science; University of Ibadan

Country: Nigeria

Full Essay

The concentration of development in the agricultural industry in Africa has being focused on crop production, with less input in commercial livestock farming and improvement. There is a looming threat of food insecurity in Africa. Arable lands are dwindling, livestock industry is being affected by climate change and agricultural practices, the farming population is aging and going extinct, famine is ravaging the Horn of Africa. In other to maintain the integrity of food production in Africa, to meet with its ever increasing population, then we need to rethink knowledge to jettison mediocrity in fully accepting modern technologies in the agricultural industry in boosting the livestock industry along with other aspects, of the agricultural sector, livestock contributes nearly 60 percent of the combined Agricultural Gross Domestic Product (AGDP), ranging from 32 percent in Ethiopia to nearly 88 percent in Somalia and it is an important component of the livelihood.

As in most of the developing countries, in the region livestock is multifunctional. It serves a multitude of diverse functions that form the livelihood base for the majority of people.
The population of the Horn of Africa (160 million) has more than doubled since 1974 and is projected to increase further in the next few years. This along with drought and conflict has exacerbated the problem of food production in an already difficult environment of fragile ecosystems. Agricultural development is therefore a necessity and not an option and it should be achieved in such a way that it is market-oriented and technologically driven so as to enhance the overall productivity. The corresponding increase in food demand will of course increase the demand for livestock and its products, for this reason we need to dive widely into alternative ways, especially employing reproductive biotechnology as a way out. Techniques of modern biology such as artificial insemination, molecular cloning of genes, gene transfer, genetic manipulation of animal and plant embryo transfer, genetic manipulation of rumen microbes, chemical and biological treatment of low quality animal feeds for improved nutritive value, genetically engineered immunodiagnostic and immunoprophylactic agents as well as veterinary vaccines, inter alia, are a reality today and are finding their ways into research and development programmes of developing countries.” J.E.O. Rege”

Artificial Insemination is widely available in developing countries but is used far less, particularly in Africa, than in developed countries. A few countries including Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal and Sudan have taken the technology to the field, mostly for programmes of “upgrading” indigenous stock and as a service to a limited number of commercial farmers keeping exotic dairy cattle breeds. A few others have used the technology more widely. Kenya and Zimbabwe, have elaborate artificial insemination systems. However, even these have gone through periods of collapse or serious degeneration and have had to go through “rehabilitation” phases. The Republic of South Africa is probably the biggest user of AI technology in terms of number of inseminations.