IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary
School and Reference Centre (ISTVS)
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ISTVS STUDENTS LEARNING FROM OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

ISTVS STUDENTS LEARNING FROM OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM
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ISTVS STUDENTS LEARNING FROM OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

In order to get practical field experience, students (second year veterinary) from IGAD Sheikh Technical Veterinary School (ISTVS) visited several places in Somaliland from 14th to 28th November 2018. A group of five studentsand three tutors visited places such as Hargesia livestock, meat and milk markets, dairy farms, Mandeeq poultry and slaughterhouse, Somaliland chamber of commerce, Tog Wajale livestock market, Bulaale farm, Berbera animal holding grounds, port, and maritime school.

As part of the annual academic activities, ISTVS students are usually given an opportunity to visit various places related to veterinary and livestock production in general.The main aim of field trips is to provide students with an opportunity to encounter and explore novel things in an authentic setting. In order to produce high quality students, ISTVS combines both classroom and practical learning.

The students visited three major towns in Somaliland i.e., Hargeisa, Tog Wajale and Berbera. In Hargeisa, the students had an opportunity to visit Mandeeq poultry farm (the largest poultry farm in Somaliland). The farm produces birds for both meat and eggs. The first stock for the farm was imported from Holland. Students were taken through all the poultry husbandry practices. The manager of the farm mentioned that diseases were not a challenge because of regular vaccinations they carry out on their birds. Lack of sufficient awareness of the importance of chicken meat was cited as the main challenge. This is because Somaliland is known to be pastoralist nation where people consume mainly camel, sheep, goat and cattle meat. Students also visited Hergesia livestock market where they participated in grading and pricing of animals. Generally, the grading system of animals in Somaliland is informal. They also conducted antemortem for animals meant for slaughter. It was interesting to observe that women handled mostly small ruminants (goats and sheep) while men handled camels mostly. At night, students participated in the slaughter of animals and conducted postmortem and meat inspection.

Students visited Somaliland chamber of commerce which has the responsibility of managing the Livestock Marketing Information System (LMIS). LMIS is a system designed to provide timely price information of different grades of export quality livestock (cattle, sheep, goats and camels), prices of kids and lambs for slaughter for export and prices of key food commodities. Students were taken through the functioning of the system and how information is disseminated to various audiences.

“Data from different markets are collected twice per week (mainly Thursday and Saturday). The information from this system is provided in the form of monthly, 4-monthly and annual reports and as bi-weekly price data upon request.” Said Ibrahim Gulaid, LMIS system manager, Chamber of Commerce, Somaliland.

In all the dairy farms visited, students were taken through all the husbandry management practices. The main challenge in all the farms was inadequate feed for animals which was as a result of prolonged droughts experienced in the country. Bulaale camel dairy farm tried to reduce the effects of drought by producing fodder such as alfalfa and sorghum under irrigation. Most of the milk from the dairy farms was supplied to Hargeisa city where the demand of fresh milk is very high.

Tog Wajale is the only market where cattle is sold for export. About 75% of cattle in the market originate from Ethiopia. Before the animals are transported to Berbera port for export, they are vaccinated against diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD). Students actively participated in the vaccination programme and animal inspection to identify sick animals which were then treated.

ISTVS students participating in vaccination of cattle at Tog Wajale livestock market

The last town to be visited by students was Berbera port. Thousands of animals are exported through this port each year. The port has facilities such as quarantine and holding grounds. Animal importing countries such as Yemen and Saudi Arabia require animals to go through quarantine so as to observe any symptoms of diseases before export. When the animals are ready for export, the ministry of Livestock issues certificates such as inspection, health and vessel.

In conclusion, the visit by student to various places allowed to gain knowledge and even put in practice the skills they learnt in class. This was demonstrated when they were asked to write a field report. We therefore thank all the stakeholders including: ISTVS staff, students, support staff at various places we visited and  DANIDA and TERRANOUVA for funding the field trip.

 

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