As the world celebrates the 2019 World Animal Day, Dr Festus Ajayi, Head of Livestock Improvement Programme, Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan has called for the creation of more jobs through livestock farming.
Ajayi made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Ibadan.
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He urged the Federal Government to celebrate the Day with increased concern for the plight of the unemployed youths in Nigeria.
Ajayi emphasised that livestock farming could create jobs for job seekers and under-employed citizens, adding that its enterprises created job along the value chain (production to consumers).
He also urged the government to provide a conducive environment for those interested in livestock farming.
“For instance, the loan should be given to youths that interested in establishing their own farms; the loan should be single digit for a year moratorium of re-payment.
“There should be an adequate supply of quality foundation stock by agricultural research institutes that have a mandate for livestock production.
“Government should be proactive in combating the spread of diseases identified in livestock production.
“Livestock farmers will optimise their profit if they adhere to best practices in livestock production; the rules of bio-security should be upheld by farmers to prevent the spread of diseases in farms,” he said.
The animal scientist noted that animal production contributed to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of the country in many ways.
According to him, it is a source of income to farmers and all stakeholders in the animal production value chain and a source of foreign exchange earnings for the country.
“For example, Nigeria exports hides and skin of animals and other animal products that are processed, many livestock products: bone, wool, skin, hides are raw materials for industries.”
Ajayi also emphasised that improvement in livestock production would be possible if farmers use improved livestock breeds as foundation stock from reputable farms that had good breeding records.
According to him, livestock production can be improved under good housing system which includes the construction of the animal house with the recommended spacing.
He also said that such improvement to boost the economy, farmers must adhered strictly to specifications on housing for the livestock they were interested in rearing.
For improved productivity, Ajayi urged the farmers to ensure that they feed the animals with the right feedstuff, in quality and quantity.
“The nutrients to be supplied by the feedstuff must be considered before they are fed to the animals. to increase profitability.
“They should maintain the management practices of feeding at the right time, feeding strategies, healthcare, cleaning and the overall hygiene of the farm.
“Waste disposal, record keeping and bio-security measures should be well kept, poor management of livestock farms affect farmers’ income as the output of the farm decreases,” he said.
However, the National President, Sheep and Goat Farmers Association of Nigeria (SHEGOFAN), Alhaji Wahabi Salami, told NAN that the World Animal Day had never been observed in Nigeria because the farmers and stakeholders were ignorant of it.
The World Animal Day is recognised globally on Oct. 4, annually, to create awareness on the welfare and importance of animals in the world.