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In line with her tripodal mandate of Teaching, Research and Extension Service, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) has achieved another landmark and monumental breakthrough of a life time, in the area of Poultry Breeding and Genetic Research in the use of Artificial Insemination, Breeding and Hatching Management.
FUNAAB made remarkable history on Thursday, July 26, 2018 when the National Centre for Genetic Resources and Biotechnology (NACGRAB) formally registered her Improved Indigenous Chicken Breed otherwise known as FUNAAB ALPHA.
The Research which began in 1994 was developed in the University by her team of Scientists, led by Professor Olufunmilayo Ayoka Adebambo, a Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics.
The improved Indigenous Chicken Breed has been tested, proven, certified and now registered by NACGRAB as FUNAAB’s Scientific ingenuity and contributions to knowledge for the benefit of mankind.
According to information made available to FUNAAB Bulletin by the Lead Scientist, Professor Adebambo, with the formal registration, FUNAAB ALPHA Breed is now the second animal breed to be registered in Nigeria after Shika Brown developed by the National Animal Production Research Institute, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria in 2001 but FUNAAB ALPHA is historically credited as the First Purely Indigenous Breed with the Pedigree, GPS and PS Lines available and developed locally.
Professor Adebambo revealed that with the registration, FUNAAB has successfully placed on the Nigerian Poultry Market, a dual purpose breed of chicken tested under rural households from September 2016 to December 2017.
She added that the Breed happened to be one of those preferred by rural households for egg production under semi-scavenging and scavenging conditions.
Besides, the former Director of Biotechnology Centre informed that the Broiler Breed, also developed for commercial meat production attains 1.5KG at 8 weeks of age, white or with some specks of black white skinned, low fat with tough tastier meat produced for Nigerian cuisine.
Professor Adebambo also hinted that the dual purpose of FUNAAB ALPHA Breed attains 2.1 to 2.6KG at 20 weeks for males, 1.6 to 1.8 KG for females, adding that eggs were improved from white to brown, from 39G to 55G and from 60 to 120 eggs per annum to 200 to 250 eggs per annum.
Providing insight into the groundbreaking research, Professor Adebambo went down memory lane. According to Nigeria’s first female Professor of Animal Breeding and Genetics, her team of animal breeders had consistently been working on the genetic improvement of Nigeria’s local chicken genotypes comprising the normal feathered, frizzle feathered and naked neck since 1994 when she was challenged by the pioneer Vice-Chancellor, Professor ‘Nimbe Adedipe.
Professor Adebambo recalled that after five generations of screening for survival in captivity, removal of broodiness to ensure continuous egg laying, the Breed was developed through cross breeding with the Giriraja Breed imported from India in 2001.
She recollected that within 12 generations of breeding and selection, the new breed was developed and stabilized in 2014 as black, striped, white normal, frizzle feathered and naked neck varieties.
Professor Adebambo further disclosed that through the African Chicken Genetic Gain, FUNAAB ALPHA was tested at the five Agro-ecological zones across the country from 2015 to 2016 alongside other imported breeds.
According to her, the imported breeds include the Kuroiler developed in India, Sasso developed breeds in France, Noiler also an India breed and Nigeria’s local Fulani Breeds from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife with the funding support of the African Genetic Gain (AGG).
She pointed out that the testing was to evaluate the performance of the birds for rural farmers who will be the end users under the Gates’ Foundation, in order to select the two most preferred breeds.
Professor Adebambo expressed joy that it is on record that the most preferred for egg production is the FUNAAB ALPHA or SHIKA BROWN while Kuroiler or Sasso is most preferred for body weight.
She pin-pointed that “In a class of its own is the FUNAAB ALPHA which is both for meat and eggs. The purely meat line is also available while the team of Scientists are currently working on developing the purely egg line which is expected to hit the market in another two to three years”.
Professor Adebambo disclosed that FUNAAB ALPHA Breed was developed through the funding of the University’s RESDEC now AMREC, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Livestock Research institute (ILRI) and Ethiopia’s Funding Support for the Onstation and Onfarm Testing.
She expressed profound gratitude to successive Management of the University for its unflinching support and unalloyed cooperation towards the success of FUNAAB ALPHA Breed.
BEHOLD THE ROLL CALL OF HISTORY MAKERS
FUNAAB POULTRY GENETICS TEAM:
Prof. Olufunmilayo A. Adebambo PhD (Project Leader, Animal Breeding, Genetics and Biotech)
Dr. S. O. Peter PhD (Animal Breeding and Biotech)
Dr. A. O. Adebambo PhD (Animal Breeding and Biotech)
Dr. M. A. Adeleke PhD (Animal Breeding and Genetics)
Dr. M. Y. Wheto PhD (Animal Biotechnology)
Dr. O. O. Kehinde DVM, PhD (VETERINARY SCIENCE on Call)
BACK-UP SCIENTISTS ARE:
MR. Olaiwola Ogunpaimo (M.Ag. Animal Breeding)
Mr. Henry Ojoawo (M.Ag. Animal Breeding)
Miss. Damilola Osinbowale (M.Ag Animal Breeding)
Mr. Michael Oyekanmi MBA (Hatchery and Farm Manager)