By Asmau Ahmad
The Nigeria’ Federal Government said Livestock sub-sector accounts for more than 40 per cent of global agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, According to Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who disclosed this, said the sub-sector also provides more than 33 per cent of World’s protein intake.
Umakhihe, who stated this on Tuesday at the opening of a training for farmers on utilisation of low-grade grains, said however, the utilisation of the cheapest and most available livestock feed was a major challenge facing farmers in Nigeria.
The permanent secretary was represented by Mrs Winnie Lai-Solarin, Director, Animal Husbandry Services, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
He listed the cheap feed resources to include crop residues (rice, maize, ground nut and cassava by-products, animal processing wastes, and brewery wastes, among others.
“On the other hand, such feeds must be cost effective. Nutritious animal feed is essential for development and productivity of animals, especially food animals.
“In Nigeria, animal feed remains a challenge to animal husbandry practices, largely due to high cost of animal feeds, which are not readily available and where they are, they are not easily affordable by an average farmer,” Umakhihe said.
According to him, it is gratifying to note that the contribution of Livestock sub-sector to the economy goes beyond the production of meat, milk and eggs.
“The livestock sub-sector supports over one billion people globally, accounting for over 40 per cent of global GDP and provides over 33 per cent of the world’s protein intake,” he said.
He said the capacity building programme was in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s agenda to leverage on the agricultural sector for wealth creation, employment generation and diversification of the economy.
Umakhihe expressed optimism that the training would also provide the required knowledge to sustain livestock through reduced availability of animal feed ingredients, labour, processing facilities, inputs and services.
In her address, Lai-Solarin said that the ministry was determined to support all agricultural famers to improve their production process to achieve feed and food security.
“It is an established fact that feed constitutes about 70 per cent of the cost of livestock production.
“Therefore, subsidising the cost of feed production will not only increase the farmers’ profit, but also sustain their interest,” she said.
Lai-Solarin, who was also represented by Mrs Florence Hamed, Chief Health and Animal Husbandry Technician, said silage making and utilisation was one of such knowledge that could make a difference.