James Emejo in Abuja
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammed Bello Umar, has inaugurated a project delivery team (PDT) for the commercialisation of the vaccine production facility of the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI) in Vom, Plateau State.
He noted that the institute, was established in 1924 to among other things conduct research into all aspects of animal diseases, their treatment and control, develop and produce animal vaccines, provide surveillance and diagnosis of animal diseases as well as provide extension services to poultry and livestock farmers.
He said the NVRI actually commenced vaccines production in 1961, particularly the rinderpest vaccine, to combat the deadly rinderpest disease in cattle, which was however, eradicated globally in 2011.
But, he lamented that the initial buildings of the institute had now become obsolete and no longer comply with good manufacturing practices.
Speaking during the inauguration of the committee, Umar said it was disheartening that despite the huge potential in the vaccine production capabilities, production had been abysmally low, even though the previous management of the institute had attempted to set up a vaccine company in the past to ameliorate the situation as the process not only became slow and frustrating but also was not carried to a successful completion.
Nonetheless, the permanent secretary praised the current management for renewing the commercialisation process of the vaccine production facility by Incorporating a company called Vom Biological Products Limited in February 2017.
He said the institute subsequently got the support of Propcom, a DFID-funded NGO to fund the feasibility study for the commercialisation of the vaccine production facility.
He said: “I will like to emphasise here that this process of commercialisation of NVRI vaccines production facility is in tandem with the federal government’s livestock transformation agenda and economic diversification.
“I therefore, implore the team to handle it in a most transparent manner, ensuring compliance with due process but also speedily to ensure timely completion of the process.”
He said already, the vaccines so far produced by the NVRI had been proven to be effective in other countries including Ghana.