The Director General of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science, Prof. Eustace Iyayi, has said the livestock industry in Nigeria could be valued at least N50 trillion over the next decade if all the right structures are put in place.
Currently, according to him, the industry is worth at least N30 trillion.
Iyayi cited the right structures to include proper infrastructure for value chain development, expansion and sustenance, financing, research and development for new breeds, and capacity development of operators.
Making this revelation in Abuja, Iyayi also said the industry was currently growing at an annual rate of 12.7 percent.
The current worth of the industry would therefore constitute approximately 20 percent of Nigeria’s GDP, and more than 30 percent at the rate of the 10 year projected figure against today’s GDP.
In spite of the impressive size, Iyayi warned that the industry in Nigeria was grossly under-producing.
“We are grossly under producing because we still import 70 percent of our beef and 25 percent of poultry. We consume about 1.3 million metric tonnes of milk annually and 60 percent of it is imported,” he said.
He said the feed industry alone was a multi-billion naira industry, adding that the poultry subsector is N1.6 trillion.
“We see the industry growing to a net worth of about N50 trillion in the next decade if all the right structures are put in place,” he stressed.
In charting the way forward to actualise the growth potential of the livestock industry, Iyayi said “the first step to increase production is to improve on the breeds of our animals so as to maximize their genetic potential. Second, is to adopt ranching for our beef and dairy cows. Rearing them in confinement will lead to their improved productivity.
“Third is for livestock producers to also be incentivised in terms of input subsidy. Fourth is to develop the value chains for the poultry and livestock species. This way people will see livestock production as agribusiness, leading to expansion of markets and business opportunities in the subsector.”
Asked what ready markets are there for Nigerian livestock exports when it becomes self-sufficient, Iyayi said, “For some of the products, we are already exporting. Our eggs are exported to several sub-regional countries, especially up north.
“With the efforts of the institute and other relevant stakeholders our feed producers now have a registered association known as the Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria (FIPAN). FIPAN is registered with the International Feed Industry Foundation (IFIF) of the FAO. Coupled with our regulatory activities, our goal is to have a formidable feed sub-sector that can export feed to the global market very soon. For other commodities such as poultry meat, beef, milk, hides, and skin much work needs to be done first to satisfy the internal market before export.
“Our institute is already facilitating this by using a regulatory model that is helping to upscale businesses in the feed, hatchery and poultry sub-sectors through maintaining international best practices. This is being expanded to other sectors of the livestock industry as well. We also engage the relevant stakeholders to know their challenges and how best to help overcome such.”
Iyayi, however, admitted that the institute had some problems in driving the optimal growth of Nigeria’s livestock industry.
“We face the limitation of funding. The federal government is trying her best, but needed and relevant activities always run ahead of funds. To support government efforts we collaborate with sister agencies and development partners in order to reduce cost of operation. We also have the limitation of a non-existent breeding policy for our poultry and livestock. Without improved breed there is nothing much that can be achieved. Currently a policy has been developed. It is a process of being presented to the Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for possible approval by the Federal Executive Council.”
Iyayi said the institute was working in close coordination with the National Agency for Food Drugs, Administration and Control (NAFDAC), as well as the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) to improve the standards of Nigeria’s food production to international standards.