…launches Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS)
By Gabriel Ewepu
ABUJA- THE Food and Agriculture Organisation, FAO, Monday, disclosed that 40, 400 goats were distributed to Internally Displaced Persons, IDPs and 300, 000 animals of 80, 000 people in North-East region of Nigeria were vaccinated.
This was made known by the FAO Representative, Nigeria, Suffyan Koroma, in a welcome address at the opening ceremony of the Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards (LEGS) 5-day workshop.
Koroma who was represented by the Assistant FAO Representative, Progamme, Ahmed Matane, said the essence of the training was part of the launch of LEGS in Nigeria was to educate stakeholders through training, and were expected to undertake similar training and lessons learnt on new and innovative and strategies back to their institutions and communities, and also promised to support them.
According to him LEGS represents set of guidelines and support services used globally to ensure high standards in livestock-based emergency responses, and would assist livestock experts to design, implement and assess interventions for livestock-owning households and communities, which LEGS has three main learning outcomes including provision of immediate and urgently needed benefits to crisis-affected livestock owning communities. Secondly, protect the livestock related assets of these crisis-affected communities, and lastly, to assist households in rebuilding their key assets so that they can recover in a timely manner.
He also stated that FAO celebrates 40 years of dedication implementing programmes and giving effective representation in the country and are grateful for the support of all its partners, including research institutes, academia, private sector, humanitarian agencies and governments worldwide in supporting its mission in Nigeria.
He said: “Food and Agriculture Organisation’s livestock interventions go back as far as the 1960s with field missions to Nigeria to help affected populations manage transboundary animal diseases like Rinderpest, which affected a substantial proportion of national cattle herd in 1963.
“Livestock rearing, as you know may appreciate, is a major livelihood in much of Nigeria, particularly along the northern areas of the country, which houses an estimated 70 per cent of all ruminants and about 80 per cent of the nation’s cattle.
“With support of the government and people of Nigeria as well as our resource partners, FAO has been able to implement emergency and recovery efforts of the livestock sector in north-eastern Nigeria. For example, since the start of 2018, FAO has distributed about 40,400 goats to 10, 100 households across the IDP camps and host communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to restock their lost productive assets.
“FAO has also vaccinated 300, 000 animals benefiting about 80, 000 people and provided 570 tonnes of animal feed 4, 680 households to cover the lean season. ”
He further stated that more than 17, 000 goats will be distributed to about 4, 400 households until December 2018, while 7, 200 households in north-east Nigeria will receive poultry kits before the end of 2018.
He also promised that as livestock has been a big business in the country. “FAO will work towards more sustainable and profitable industries and production system with positive benefits for households’ food and nutrition security and general standard of living.”
However, he noted that many people who depend on livestock have been faced with challenges including climate-related issues including drought, erratic rainfall and floods, volatility of local and global markets and armed conflict in areas like the North-East of the country.
Meanwhile, in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Bukar Hassan, who was represented by the Director of Animal Husbandry, John Taiwo, described LEGS as apt, which will build the capacity of critical stakeholders and boost confidence in the process of attendance to the national contemporary challenges in the industry.