In line with its goal of attaining self-sufficiency in the provision of animal protein; creating jobs for millions of youths and contributing to the National Gross Domestic Product optimally, the federal government has mapped out programmesaimed at improving livestock production in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this during a media parley on the forthcoming two-day retreat on Livestock and Dairy Development in Nigeria slated for June 7-8, 2016 in Abuja.
The Minister said the present administration was ready to embark on various agricultural programmes that would develop the nation’s livestock industry. These programmes according to the Minister, include the establishment of ranches to be planted with high quality improved tropical grass and legume species;provision of irrigation for all year commercial fodder production to enhance settlement of pastoralists; cattle, sheep and goat improvement through an expanded breeding programme that will be aggressively pursued using artificial insemination; establishment of clusters of dairy farmers which would be equipped with milk collection facilities; capacity building programmes for livestock farmers and introduction of single credit facility for livestock and other farming activities.
Ogbeh expressed the regret over the huge import bill of milk, which he put at 1.3 billion dollars and stated that the federal government was determined to intensify efforts in increasing livestock production along its value chains. He added that the ministry was ready to create enabling environments for potential investors to grow and develop the nation’s livestock industry to achieve self-sufficiency as well as become a net exporter to other West African countries.
The Minister explained that the retreat with the theme “Setting an Agenda for commercialising Livestock and Dairy Commodity Value Chain” is being organised by the ministry in collaboration with African Business Roundtable to create an enabling environment to attract private sector investment for the development of livestock and dairy sector in Nigeria, noting that, this would generate employment and create wealth through the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise (LIFE) project of the ministry as well as improve contribution to foreign earnings and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).