AAU College of V.M. and Agriculture Graduates Students in Different Disciplines

Addis Ababa University (AAU) College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture graduated 68 students in undergraduate, Msc. and PhD degree levels in different programs and disciplines with the commencement program held at its campus on the 17th of July 2022.

Dean of the College, Hika Waktole (PhD), reportedly said that AAU College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture graduated 7 students in PhD for the 9th time, 30 students in Master’s degree for the 22nd time and 31 in DVM degree for the 38th time.

According to Dr. Hika, the College is the first to its kind in animal agriculture for Ethiopia which has been teaching and training in different programs for the last 59 years. “Currently, the College is teaching in 2 Undergraduate, 11 Master’s and 6 PhD programs. Until now, the College has graduated 4,529 students in different programs and degree levels and contributed a lot to the development of the country,” he added.

According to Dr. Hika, AAU and the College are the forefronts to Ethiopia in all dimensions of education; they have been working for developing human resource in animal health and reproduction expertize development with due focus on expansion of PhD level programs.

In the coming academic year, the College is striving to open a new field of study which is the first in its kind that focuses on poultry production, Msc. in Poultry and Management. In addition, it is trying to revise the existing Master’s programs considering the current national and international needs as well as the way the science requires, he stated.

Improving the capacities of the existing animal hospital, laboratories and other facilities will be focused in the coming academic year. Overall human resource development in both the academic and management staffs will get due focus ahead,” the dean said.

As stated by Dr. Hika, the college in addition to its teaching-learning activity, it is carrying community problem solving engagement researches. “In this regard, currently, 21 thematic, community engagement and adaptive research projects are underway with the full support of AAU. There are also 4 collaborative research projects going on with the cooperation of national and international research institutions,” he added.

Though the problems that have been resolved by the research results so far are very limited, 146 research results from the College were published in national and international reputable journals in the last academic year, Dr. Hika said.

According to Dr. Hika, the college cooperating its teachers and students through the animal hospital, donkey sanctuary, SPANA project and others, it has given 73,081 animal health services in three regions of the country this year. In addition, awareness creation trainings on animal health and management were given to 15,568 elementary school students, animal health workers, elementary and secondary school teachers as well as pack animal owners.

Professor Tassew Weldehanna, President of AAU, on his keynote speech said that it has been a few years since the College started moving beyond animal husbandry to include other areas of agriculture. “For the past several years, in addition to training the profession of veterinary medicine, it has provided standard medical services to the local community and is a veteran college that conducts many problem-solving researches in the field of animal health and husbandry,” he added.

According to Prof. Tassew, AAU has been increasing its competitiveness both in Africa and internationally in recent years, and is currently ranked first among East African universities and sixth in Africa. But it can be said for sure that if the university was given full institutional freedom, it could have achieved more results, he added.

What makes this year’s graduation special is that it is taking place on the eve of the re-organization of AAU as a chartered and fully independent institution in order to implement the University’s mission in a better and smoother manner by making it a center of excellence where deep learning-teaching and research-developed knowledge can be found,” he said.

Prof. Tassew said that the University’s audit findings have been rolling for many years and for the first time, it has received improved audit findings for two consecutive years, also making this year’s graduation special.

Despite the many positive and negative events following the changes in our country, we see it as a great success for the University to complete the work of learning and teaching in a completely peaceful manner even when our country is in a challenging situation,” he said.

Though Ethiopia is the leading in Africa in the number of domestic animals, her profit from the sector is very low: one of the main reasons for this is the increase of animal diseases; unimproved and backward animal husbandry practices; lack of fodder and illegal animal trade, the President said.

Our University, especially the College, is expected to make a significant contribution in alleviating these problems. Since the problems are the major research areas of the College, its scholars are expected to find solutions to the problems by conducting extensive research,” Prof. Tassew stressed.

As stated by Prof. Tassew, at a time when our country, Ethiopia, is progressing to become one of the middle-income countries and to be self-sufficient in food, it requires unreserved efforts from all the society to improve the livelihood of the pastoralists and farmers based on domestic animal breeding, to further increase the country’s foreign exchange income and to continue the change in our country.

There is a need for the college community to work hand in hand and make the College a center of excellence as a destination for international students and researchers. You are expected to work harder than usual, realizing that the result of your work has a significant contribution not only to AAU, but also to our country,” Prof. Tassew said.

Prof. Tassew advised the College’s community that activities should constantly increase the benefits of the society through the promotion of dairy and meat products considering as a great community service.

Advising to the graduates Prof. Tassew finally said, “As our country is undergoing a major change process, two basic things await you: standing firmly for the peace and unity of Ethiopia and fulfilling the trust that the country has given you; serve your people with sincerity and honesty what the College taught you throughout your stay here.

Mr. Umer Hussen, Minister of Agriculture of the FDRE, on his part said that the Agricultural sector plays a significant role in our country’s economic growth and poverty reduction. As a result of this, they are working together with the stakeholders to produce the expected results from the sector by preparing leading plans for the agricultural sector and other national programs based on the economic policy reform, he added.

We are beginning to see promising results from these initiatives that should be encouraged. Based on this, it is necessary to change the very backward system based on animal labor in order to modernize and mechanize Ethiopian agriculture,” the minister said.

According to Mr. Umer, a wide range of activities have been carried out to change the system of harvesting that was based only on by waiting summer rains by practicing winter harvest using irrigation water to produce widely. The government is encouraging the sector by giving tax relief to equipment that helps this, by allowing them to be imported from abroad, he added.

The Minister said that it has been possible to revive the export of agricultural products from its extremely low level in the last two or three years. “As a result, we were able to earn 1.42 billion dollars in this fiscal year from coffee alone. It was possible to make it share up to 70 percent in other agricultural products,” he confirmed.

In order to prevent the depletion of natural resources, which is a serious challenge in the world including our country, it is widely planted a highly recommended a Green Legacy annual Campaign work of great importance for the coming generation by carefully using experts and science, Mr. Umer said.

According to the Minister, great efforts have been made to increase milk production and productivity, to modernize the production of meat and additional animal products, to support the key activities of breed improvement, animal feed and health services in a wide and quality manner.

However, the multifaceted problems of this sector can be solved only when it is possible to produce a competent workforce with skills and motivation. In this regard, our higher education institutions should be properly expanded by producing a sufficient number of qualified professionals, and research should be done to monitor what kind of results they are achieving,” Minister Umer Hussen said.

Today, in the fight to modernize the animal sector, he request graduates to achieve what our country expects from them by strengthening research and community service through focusing their research on the key problems of the sector.

In this regard, I would like to confirm that the government, especially the Ministry of Agriculture, will give you the appropriate support for the efforts of the College of Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture to fulfill the teaching, research and community service missions,” the Minister confirmed.

Mr. Umer finally said, “The time has come for you to serve your community sincerely and diligently in the profession you have been trained in, and to educate yourself in every available field and benefit your family, society and country. Therefore, I would like to urge you to get involved in different parts of our country and prepare for a life in which you will get results from today, knowing that supporting the livelihood of your people is a big task in your life.

Editor: Abraham Girmay

Photo: Andualem Aseffa