As part of the activities of the iLINOVA-OAU project, key stakeholders’ fora were conducted to familiarize diverse groups and stakeholders about the iLINOVA project and to solicit their full cooperation and participation. The first forum which held on the 17th of May, 2014, represented a gathering of iLINOVA-OAU PAC members, researchers and livestock farmers from Osun and Oyo States, southwestern Nigeria. This forum, in particular, represented a typical scenario of University–Civil Society linkage. Goals of this gathering included: (a) intimating participants about the iLINOVA project objectives, activities and expected outcomes; (b) seeking their consent and full cooperation and participation under the principle of prior informed consent, and (c) drawing up a common agenda for the implementation of the iLINOVA project.
Members of the participating livestock farmers’ groups included leaders of associations of livestock producers for quails, chicken ecotypes (Yoruba and Fulani), rabbits, grass cutter, goats, sheep and cattle. The academic community was represented by the OAU iLINOVA team (Drs. S.O. Oseni, S.I. Ola, O.A. Makinde, I.O. Dudusola, B.A. Ajayi and Mr. M.A Popoola) as well as staff and post-graduate students of the Department of Animal Sciences.
Highlights of the programme included:
(i) Formal briefing of the stakeholders about the project by the iLINOVA-OAU partner
(ii) Contributions by a representative each of the livestock association on the status of each indigenous livestock with respect to production, processing and local value chains and networks.
(iii) Break-out sessions to discuss issues related to the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with each of the indigenous livestock species. Participants agreed that the collaboration will be guided by the following sub-themes: diversity of ecotypes and sub-ecotypes of indigenous livestock, management, local value chains, networks and associations. Also of interest are processing and value addition with emphasis on taste, flavour, texture and aroma of indigenous livestock products, niche markets and product development.
The forum was an excellent platform for interaction between the University and the civil society and it brought about the following:
(a) awareness about the iLINOVA project – objectives, activities, and expected outcomes - ;
(b) principle of prior informed consent was accomplished;
(c) cooperation of indigenous livestock producers was pledged;
(d) agenda for further collaborative activities including summer camps was agreed upon. Essentially, the event laid the foundation for a common agenda on University-civil-society linkage that presents a win-win outcome for the University and owners of indigenous livestock units.