The National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA) says research has showed that about 12 million children under the age of five are stunted due to malnutrition from protein deficiency.
Dr Sunday Uhiene, the Technical Adviser to the Director-General of NABDA, Prof. Lucy Ogbadu, made this known during the July edition of the agency’s monthly seminar organised by the agency on Tuesday in Abuja.
The monthly seminar is a forum where scientists carrying out studies in different areas of sciences in the agency showcase their findings.
Uhiene said that protein as a vital class of food was critical to the growth and development of children and the deficiency of it could cause a lasting damage to a child.
According to him, they are affected for life when they are stunted and will never exhibit their God’s given talents as a result of malnutrition.
“Protein is critical in achieving adequate nutrition for the children, and this government is talking about the school feeding programme to ensure that children have a balanced diet.
“We must take control of our destiny using the work of all the scientists and NABDA is the mouth piece of all biological research and innovation and in this instance the scientists are focused on animal nutrition,’’ Uhiene said.
Miss Victory Odi-Akpa, a scientist in Animal Breeding and Physiology, presented a paper titled: “Evaluation of the effects of teasing and mating periods on some physiological characteristics reproductive hormones of female rabbits’’, said that rabbits were good source of protein.
“Rabbits are easily handled, they are friendly and the quality of their meat is better when compared to other live stocks, the economic benefit of rabbit is much. It can be kept as pet or animals.
“It can be used for research because pregnant animals can also be used in research pertaining to clinical pathology of female reproduction. Rabbits are highly nutritional because they do not contain cholesterol.
“As the administration of President Mohammed Buhari wants to diversify the economy, it can be an option due to the fast growth and it can also give room for more hands, thereby giving employment.
“For instance, a rabbit mated today, kindles in the next 29 days to 31days, which is a month, immediately after kindling the rabbit can be mated the same day it gave birth and it will still conceive,’’ Odi-Akpa said.
She said that if properly managed, rabbits could reproduce 10 times in a year with a gestation period of 29 to 31 days.
Odi-Akpa called for more awareness on the benefits of rearing rabbits as it was a better source of protein for children, adults and the aged.
Mrs Doris Umeakuana, a scientist in Food Science and Technology who presented papers on the production and shelf-life of Intermediate Moisture in Snail Meat, encouraged Nigerians to go into snail farming.
Umeakuana said that the essence of the paper was to throw more light into the importance of snail meat in the nutritional content of Nigerians.
She said that the importance of snail could not be overemphasised, especially when washed with lime, adding “it is also a good source of protein’’.
She said that the result of the test showed that snail washed with lime last longer and still maintained all the nutritional values than when washed with other methods.
“The most acceptable washing method of snail meat is washing with lime.
“This is because after series of evaluation, it was carried out that snail meat washed with lime last longer and has no odour compared to those washed with other contents,’’ she said.
Umeakuana said that the research was also carried out based on the fact that snail could be easily accessed by rural dwellers.