The establishment of a
University Dairy Demonstration Unit (UDDU) is a key task in the implementation of the DAIRYCHAIN project. This task requires all participating Universities in the Project to establish a functional UDDU that serves as a resource unit for training, research & development on sustainable smallholder dairy production. Our vision is that, by leveraging on these opportunities, operations at the UDDU could be extended to a higher scale as a potential catalyst for smallholder dairy sector development through multi-stakeholder collaboration and linkages. Other activities include capacity building related to core competence and entrepreneurship in smallholder dairy production and management. With all these potential roles and functions, the UDDU is envisioned as a catalyst for national smallholder dairy sector development.
With funds from the DAIRYCHAIN Project, OAU successfully resuscitated the University Dairy Unit which had been moribund for over 30 years. The renovations involved total refurbishing of the animal holding areas as well as on-going efforts to provide a mobile milking machine by the management of the OAU Teaching & Research Farm. These steps are being complemented by efforts to re-stock the Unit with crossbred cows (F1 Holstein × White Fulani). Provision is also being made for a fully functional Pasture Unit. The current on goings in the pasture unit include planting of improved grasses namely Pennisetum purpureum, Cynodon clandestianum, Cynodon dactylon, Panicum maximum, Andropogon spp, Chloris gayana; and browses such as Leucaena leucocephala, Tephrosia candida, Gliricidia sepium, Moringa oleifera, Gmelina arborea.
In the process of implementing the DAIRYCHAIN agenda and setting up the UDDU, visits were made to private sector companies and agencies, government and non-governmental agencies as well as other higher education institutions in Nigeria.
The discussions held during the visits gave rise to:
(1) Provision of Semen by FCW.
(2) Technical support and training of OAU staff on synchronization of cows and AI, by a private company at a discounted rates.
(3) Provision of improved seeds of grasses and browses for the Pasture Unit attached to the UDDU.
(4) Opportunity to produce F1 crossbred dairy weaner-calves as part of the operations of the UDDU at the OAU Teaching & Research.
With these opportunities and expanded operations, the UDDU at OAU is poised to offer the following training and outreach services:
(a) Manpower training for dairy sector using the facilities at the UDDU.
(b) Industry linkages and collaboration through MoU.
(c) Clientele services (e.g. consultations on synchronization of cows and AI services).
(d) Industry linkages with dairy sector players on labour needs requirements and core competence in professional dairy production.
(e) Research and Development on core themes related to sustainable smallholder dairy production.
(f) Public-private partnership through the production of crossbred weaner-calves for the dairy sector and
(g) ensuring Sustainability of the dairy sector.
These processes are on-going and the ultimate outcomes envisioned include:
(a) Meeting the traditional functions relating to the provision of a robust training and manpower development for sustainable smallholder dairy production.
(b) Expanded functions including R&D on smallholder dairy development, networking, collaboration, and clientele services through University-Dairy sector linkages and public-private partnerships.