The participation of the DAIRYCHAIN-OAU team members at the Regional Conference on Dairy Education and Training in Africa which was held in Kenya from 21st to 22nd September, 2015, provided an excellent platform for the team to be part of the 11th African Dairy Conference & Exhibition that took place from 23rd to 25th September, 2015 at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre, Nairobi, where the idea to explore hydroponics in Nigeria was conceived.
On returning to Nigeria, some initial trials with locally available seeds (maize, barley, wheat and rice) were conducted in order to establish the viability or otherwise of hydroponics venture. The trials gave interesting results;
- The wheat compared well with the barley in terms of the number of days (7) required to form a good mat, while the rice requires a minimum of 9 days to form a good mat.
- While the wheat and barley were observed to be susceptible to mould outside a screened environment, the rice (paddy rice) was observed to show resilience to mould infestation under similar conditions.
These preliminary outcomes led to the invitation of the DairyChain-OAU team to make a presentation on hydroponics at the 1st Congress of the African Society of Agronomy, Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences (ASACSES) which was held from 2nd to 5th November, 2015 at the International Conference Centre, ECOWAS Parliament, Abuja, Nigeria.
The DairyChain-OAU team was represented at the ASACSES conference by Drs. Adeolu Odedire and Bukola Oyebanji. Dr. Odedire presented “Hydroponics and the Future of Livestock Feeding”. This presentation opened up a new vista in the Nigerian agricultural technology as many of the participants could not hide their excitement about the possibilities of embracing hydroponics as a latest technique in forage production.