Nigeria topmost livestock producer in West Africa- Minister

Nigeria topmost livestock producer in West Africa- Minister

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The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, says Nigeria is the topmost livestock producer in West Africa.

Abubakar said this on Tuesday, at the opening of a two- day summit on National Livestock Transformation Plan,  co- organised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ACAN)  in Abuja.

The theme of the summit is: ”Positioning the Nigerian Livestock Industry for the 21st Century Economy: A critical look at the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).”

The minister said the summit was timely as the country was diversifying its economy with agriculture.

‘’ This Summit could not have come at a better time than now when the Country is diversifying its economy with Agriculture dominating the non-oil sector as well as recovering from the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the livestock industry,” he said.

Abubakar said that the bulk of Nigerian labour force was engaged in various forms of agricultural enterprises, especially along the livestock value chain with over 30 per cent women and young adults depending largely on livestock for their income, livelihoods and sustenance.

” Although, information on total production and consumption levels in Nigeria vary significantly depending on the source, the Livestock sector remains a major component of the agricultural economy.

The minister said this played a significant role in the overall national economy.

“It accounts for about two  to five per cent of the National GDP and 10 per cent of the Agricultural GDP.

Abubakar said that recent estimates showed  that the livestock sector was endowed with abundant livestock resources with about 26.4 million cattle, 88.2 million goats, 50.3 million sheep, and 8.9 million pigs.

” Also, 465 million chickens, 36.4 million ducks, 3.8 million turkeys, 5.5 million Rabbits, 353,173 camels, and 1,234,284 donkeys (Ministry of Agriculture 2021) thus making the nation the topmost livestock producer in West Africa,”

Abubakar said that  in spite of this potential, it is estimated that the per capita consumption of animal source foods stands at 8 litres of milk, 9 kg of meat and 3.5 kg or 55 eggs per year.

The minister said these were very low consumption levels when compared with the global averages of 44 litres of milk and 19 kg of meat, respectively.

” Consequently, a huge amount is spent on importation of food into the country especially milk and dairy products,” he said

He said that the ministry was broadening and deepening collaboration with a wide-range of  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,’’ he said

The Chairman, Agriculture Correspondents Association of Nigeria (ACAN), Mr John Oba, described the summit as apt.

Oba said the livestock sector was a pillar of the global food system and a contributor to poverty reduction, food security and agricultural development.

“We are hoping that this summit will afford us, particularly, players in the Nigerian livestock industry the opportunity to showcase our business to the global community.

“This is with a view to attracting investors and also highlight modern and global best practices in livestock management for maximum returns,” he said.

The Director, Department of Animal Husbandry Services in the Ministry of Agriculture, Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, while speaking on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, said since the launch of the Plan, government and other stakeholders had not relented to make it a success.

In a goodwill message,  Country Representative, Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Mr Fred Kaferro,  said the organisation would continue to provide technical support to government in addressing all aspects of the livestock system