Minister of Agriculture and rural development, Chief Audu Ogbeh has admitted government’s inefficiency of not taking the Fulani cattle bearers as farmers equally like other farmers thereby taking them for granted.
Ogbe said a lot was done for the other farm produce farmers but did not realise that the cattle rearer is equally one and so never invested in them.
The minister who was speaking at the retreat on Livestock and Dairy Development in Nigeria with the theme, “Setting an agenda for commercializing Livestock and Dairy in Nigeria” at the Musa Yar’Adua centre in Abuja on Tuesday observed that the retreat is coming in the period of the Nation’s history when National security is threatened by heightened and frequent farmers/pastoralists conflicts, banditry and cattle rustling resulting in the depletion of our National herd that was estimated at 19.5 Million.
His words: “The Nigeria livestock figure currently stands at an estimated 19.5 Million Cattle, 41 Million Sheep, 72.5 Million Goats, 7.1 Million pigs and 145 Million Poultry birds; these livestock are predominantly kept by pastorals and subsistence small holder producers which makes productivity very low.
“It is for this reason that the country has not been able to meet the protein needs of our populace which resulted into massive importation of animal protein to bridge the gap between demand and supply”, he added.
Ogbe pointed out that the goal of the retreat is to create enabling environment to attract investment for the development of livestock dairy sector in Nigeria stressing: “This will generate employment and create wealth through Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprises (LIFE) initiative and improve the sector, contribution to foreign earnings and GDP.
“The retreat will among others review existing policies to attract private investment and ensure transformation of the livestock and dairy sectors in line with the LIFE initiative; develop strategies to increase the quality and quantity of livestock and dairy products produced through the application of modern techniques and appropriate technologies; enhance value added processing and manufacturing along the livestock commodity value chain for rapid industrialization and rural development and to develop appropriate distribution mechanism, innovative marketing strategies to increase awareness and stimulate demand for Nigeria’s livestock and dairy products in the domestic and international markets”, he added.
The Minister also said his Ministry in collaboration with the African Business Roundtable (ABR), a private institution for mobilizing and engaging the private sector, deemed it necessary to host the retreat in order to set an agenda for commercializing the sector.
“At the end of the retreat, deliverable expected will be strategic implementation framework or master plan for commercializing livestock and dairy commodity value chain in Nigeria; financing mechanism and Agri-business plan”, he added.