Nigeria is West Africa’s top livestock producer – Minister

By Doris Esa

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Abubakar, says Nigeria is West Africa’s top livestock producer.

Abubakar said so on Tuesday, opening a two-day summit on the National Livestock Transformation Plan, co-hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Agricultural Correspondents 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, as the country diversifies its economy with agriculture dominating the non-oil sector and recovers from the devastating effect of COVID-19 on the oil industry. breeding,” he said.

Abubakar said most of the Nigerian workforce is engaged in various forms of agricultural enterprises, particularly along the livestock value chain, with over 30% women and young adults. largely dependent on livestock for their income, livelihood and sustenance.

Although information on total production and consumption levels in Nigeria varies widely depending on the source, the livestock sector remains a major component of the agricultural economy.

The minister said it plays an important role in the overall national economy.

“It represents about 2 to 5% of the national GDP and 10% of the agricultural GDP.

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

“Furthermore, 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) are doing so. nation the leading livestock producer in West Africa”,

Abubakar said that despite this potential, the per capita consumption of animal source foods is estimated to be 8 liters of milk, 9 kg of meat and 3.5 kg or 55 eggs per year.

The minister said these were very low levels of consumption compared to global averages of 44 liters of milk and 19 kg of meat, respectively.

“As a result, a huge sum is spent on importing foodstuffs into the country, especially milk and dairy products,” he said.

He said the ministry was broadening and deepening collaboration with a wide range of relevant stakeholders and institutions to address immediate and remote constraints in the livestock sector and to attract increased investment in the sector.

“Given the urgent need to unlock the potential of the livestock industry and accelerate its transformation to address the socio-cultural, security and economic challenges currently facing the country.

”The ministry is excited about the potential promise of this summit on the National Livestock Transformation Plan and we look forward to the outcome to enhance our interventions and synergy towards a successful and rapid transformation of the livestock sector’ ‘, did he declare.

The President of the Association of Agricultural Correspondents of Nigeria (ACAN), Mr. John Oba, described the summit as fitting.

Mr. 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 hope that this summit will provide us, especially those in the Nigerian livestock industry, with the opportunity to showcase our business to the global community.

“This is in order to attract investors and showcase modern, global best practices in livestock management for maximum return,” he said.

The Director of Livestock Services Department in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ms. Winnie Lai-Solarin, speaking on the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan, said that since the launch of the plan, the government and other stakeholders had not given up to make it a success.

In a message of goodwill, the country representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Mr. Fred Kaferro, said that the organization would continue to provide technical support to the government to address all aspects of the farming system. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

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