Ndubuisi Francis in Abuja
The Nigeria Incentive-Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL) has kick-started an enhanced livestock feed programme, designed to mark a departure from nomadic cattle rearing to a more structured system aimed at encouraging private sector investment into the livestock value chain.
On full implementation, the scheme is expected to inject about 2,450 extra heads of cattle into the Nigerian market every three months and generate about N1.2 million annually for each targeted farmer with concomitant positive impact on families and communities.
The project is being financed under the NIRSAL-Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Anchor Borrowers Programme (ABP).
Under the comprehensive scheme, NIRSAL will not only provide access to finance but also technical support to livestock farmers for guaranteed results.
The programme introduces a shift from the nomadic nature of livestock rearing to a more controlled system that allows for quality care, fattening and increased productivity for farmers.
With a total of 700 livestock farmers to be involved, the pilot scheme of the programme has already taken off in Adamawa State and will be extended to other states across the country in a nationwide push for stronger impact.
Other locations included in the pilot phase include Delta, Imo, Oyo, Katsina and Bauchi States, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Speaking at the launch in Yola, the Managing Director of NIRSA, Mr. Aliyu Abdulhameed stated that the initiative â€œmarks an important step in the execution of NIRSALâ€™s strategy to stimulate the growth of a modern, reliable and sustainable livestock feed finishing industry in the north as a strategic response to the problems which affect the livestock value chain.â€
He said Adamawa State was chosen for the pilot scheme because of its strategic status as a regional hub in livestock business and the strong commitment of the state Governor, Senator Bindow Umaru Jibrilla, towards growing and modernising it.
Governor Umaru Jibrilla, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Martins Balale, expressed delight at the take-off of the project, and expressed appreciation to NIRSAL for the strategic decision to kick-start the programme in the state.
He said: â€œCattle rearing is a very important part of Adamawa economy. Its prevalence amongst ordinary people makes the sector an effective catalyst for dealing with poverty and increasing the standards of living and fostering inclusive economic growth. NIRSALâ€™s efforts in this direction with its partner NUSRAN, is perfectly in line with our plans and we are happy to see it take off.â€
At the heart of the programme is NIRSALâ€™s tailored livestock feed finishing model. The system is anchored on the adoption of the highly nutritious and fast-growing Napier grass, which has a short gestation cycle of three months by the livestock farmers.
Other key components of the programme include training of livestock farmers on modern livestock feeding systems, livestock rearing best practices, vaccination of livestock, disease management and other relevant information that increase the chances of productivity and profitability in the business.
The feed programme is fashioned to provide an institutional framework that ensures that farmers are able to maximise the value of their investment as well as improve income by introducing them to more nutritious and high yield feed
The launch of the programme comes on the back of NIRSALâ€™s comprehensive Train-the-Trainer workshop for building technical capacity of livestock improving their efficiencies which was concluded on July 31.