Says Nigeria tops West Africa’s livestock production
ACAN promises to give more attention to subsector
By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, Tuesday, expressed optimism that the ongoing Summit on Livestock Transformation Plan co-organized by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, FMARD, and Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria, ACAN, stands to tackle protracted challenges.
Abubakar stated this in his keynote address while declaring open the 2-day Summit with theme ‘Positioning the Nigerian Livestock Industry for the 21st Century Economy: A Critical Look at the National Livestock Transformation Plan’ supported by Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited, and the Submit ends on Wednesday April 27, 2022
He pointed that the nation’s livestock value chain had over the years experienced multifarious challenges that have troubled stakeholders and the nation in general, which include low breed quality, poor animal husbandry practices, limited access to quality inputs and finance, weak animal health and extension service delivery, livestock herder and crop farmer conflicts, cattle rustling, banditry, and other security challenges.
He (Abubakar) also lamented that these have continued to prevent the sector from reaching its full potential.
According to him, inconsistent government policies, poorly functioning institutional settings, linkages, regulations and standards, have failed to bring about significant and sustainable transformation in the sector and limited impact on livelihood of actors along the sector’s value chains.
He also acknowledged that the potential promises of the sector have come under greater threat in recent times with the pervasive insurgence and conflicts in North-Eastern, Middle Belt and many other parts of the country coupled with the overwhelming consequences and negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, floods and droughts.
He said: “The waves of destruction and demographic dislocation are so huge and unprecedented that Livestock businesses are significantly disrupted with animals wiped out in many instances.
“Stakeholders Engagement and Collaboration to Mainstream Livestock Transformation: The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development through the Departments of Animal Husbandry Services and Veterinary and Pest Control Services is broadening and deepening collaboration with a wide-range of MDAs, stakeholders and relevant institutions to address immediate and remote constraints of the livestock sector and to attract increased investments in the sector.
“In view of the urgent need to unlock the potential of the livestock industry and fast track its transformation to address the socio-cultural, security and economic challenges currently facing the country, the Ministry is enthused about the potential promises of this summit on National Livestock Transformation Plan and we look forward to the outcome to enhance our interventions and synergy towards successful and speedy transformation of the Livestock sector.”
However, according to the Minister, the livestock subsector accounts for about 2-5 per cent of the National GDP and 10 per cent of the Agricultural GDP, which Nigeria currently tops in livestock production in West Africa.
“Recent estimates show that the livestock sector is endowed with abundant livestock resources with about 26.4 million cattle, 88.2 million goats, 50.3 million sheep, 8.9 million pigs, 465 million chickens, 36.4 million ducks, 3.8 million turkeys, 5.5 million Rabbits, 353,173 camels, and 1,234,284 donkeys (FMARD 2021) thus making the nation the topmost livestock producer in West Africa”, he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of ACAN, John Oba, in an address of welcome explained the essence of ACAN’s collaboration with the Ministry of Agric, which is to x-ray the livestock sub-sector as a major pillar of the global food system and a contributor to poverty reduction, food security and agricultural development.
“In Nigeria, livestock play a major role in sustainable food systems, according to experts, the country’s livestock sector has a huge economic potential worth over N33 trillion, such sector should never be ignored.
“That is why development of policies like the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme, NALBIP, National Livestock Transformation Plan, NLTP, and among others are welcome ideas.
“We would have critically dissected the NLTP and the inherent investment opportunities that abound in the sector would have been exposed, highlighted and projected for the private sector, and donor agencies to participate actively. All the misconceptions held by Nigerians on the real intentions of government for initiating the NLTP would have been dispelled”, Oba said.
The Director of Animal Husbandry Department of Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Winnie Lai-Solarin, while speaking on implementation of the NLTP, said since the launch of Plan, government and other stakeholders have not relented to make it a success as far as other policies backing it up have been put in place.