Giving agriculture needed push to drive economic growth

Nigeria’s livestock population stands at 22m, Cattle leads with over 53,000

By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja

Following prevention of possible outbreak of transboundary animal diseases, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Friday, moved to vaccinate livestock with 2 million vaccines in the North East region.

This was contained in a statement issued by the Ministry, where the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, flagged off ceremony of 2022 Nationwide Free Mass Vaccination Campaign against Transboundary Animal Diseases in Dadinkowa, Yamaltu Deba Local Government Area of Gombe State.

Abubakar who was represented by the Director, Federal Department of Veterinary and Pest Control and Chief Veterinary Officer of Nigeria, Dr. Maimuna Habib, assured that the Ministry through its Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services would support Gombe State and other States in the North East region to prevent any outback of animal diseases.

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The 2 million free vaccines include; Contagious Bovine Pleuropneumonia, CBPP, Foot and Mouth Disease, FMD, Peste Des Petits Ruminants, PPR, and Newcastle Disease, ND, and among others.

He acknowledged that livestock production remains a major means of livelihood in Nigeria, which employs about 70 per cent of Nigerians, creates food nutrition and security.

He said: “The Ministry has policies and national programmes for the control of these diseases, while it is the policy for routine vaccination for all diseases, it is our policy as a country not to vaccinate against Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, also known as Bird flu.

“Over the years, the policy of CBPP, FMD, PPR and ND control in Nigeria has been routine annual vaccination.

“However, the vaccination coverage has been limited by inadequate resources. But going forward, we intend to scale up vaccination coverage as more resources become available.”

Meanwhile, according to the Minister, Nigeria’s livestock population stands at over 22 million.

“Nigeria’s livestock population is put at 22,378,374 Cattle; 53,061,143 Sheep; 99,879,799 Goats; 9,299,563 Pigs and over 425,790,456 Poultry, spread across the six geopolitical zones of the country, kept by majority of Nigerians especially in rural and semi-rural settings.

“The full potentials of these animals and the attendant socio-economic benefits they provide cannot be guaranteed unless they are in a state of good health which can only be achieved through vaccination against diseases like CBPP and FMD in cattle; PPR in sheep and goats, and NCD in chickens.”

However, he (Abubakar) appealed to development partners and Non-Governmental Organizations, NGOs, to key into the initiative by supporting the States with more vaccines and the logistics that are needed to carry out the mass vaccination in the country and collaboration with neighboring countries of Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.

“The exercise should be taking as a call to national service and to give it the best attention that it deserves and ultimately, all of us shall be part of making history as Nigeria joins other nations of the world to control and eradicate these dreaded diseases of cattle, poultry, sheep and goat from our national herd”, he added.

Also in a remark, Governor of Gombe State, Muhammadu Inuwa Yahaya, said the vaccination exercise is the third time it is being carried out under his administration and commended the Ministry for its efforts and commitment in ensuring the control of animal diseases.

Earlier in an address of welcome, Gombe State Commissioner for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, Hon Muhammad Magaji, noted that the animal vaccination flag-off was the first in the State for the North East region.

Thee Chairman, Miytti-Allah Cattle Breeders Association, Gombe State Chapter, Mallam Madibbo Yahaya, appreciated Federal Government for the programme, which is to achieve increase in food production, generate more revenue for farmers as well as sustain the diversification in the Agricultural sector.

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