James Emejo and Folalumi Alaran in Abuja
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, has challenged the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), to evolve scientific and practicable models that the government can adopt to surmount the recurring conflict between farmers and herders in the country.
Speaking at the inauguration of the fifth council of (NIAS) in Abuja, he said the institute must not shy away from playing a deserved lead role in proffering the needed solution to the current burning issue of incessant conflicts between herders and sedentary farming communities.
He said land resource is indeed scarce and not expandable, but science has proven that we can generate. All we need is renewable agricultural strategies for both crop and livestock production from the available land resource without any form of conflict.
“I strongly call on the Institute to come up with scientific and practicable models that the government can adopt to finally lay to rest this front-burning problem.”
The minister added that the country needed to quickly transit from the present conflict era to becoming a net exporter of premium beef, emulating and surpassing the enviable achievements of countries like Uruguay which has metamorphosed over the recent years into a leading exporter of premium beef to the EU, US and even the Chinese markets.
He added that it took Uruguay years of branding, food safety and quality reforms as well as investment to get to that enviable market leadership, noting that “It will take us nothing less”.
He said the institute had since its inception in 2007 by Act No. 26 of 2007 (as Amended 2015), proved its mettle in the fight to engender national self-sufficiency in safe animal protein intake through appropriate regulations of the livestock industry. He said the institute’s regulation for the feed milling industry and regulation for breeder farms, hatchery operations and day-old chicks quality in Nigeria, are particularly worthy of mention.
According to Nanono, these regulations have been in tune with the Agricultural Promotion Policy, the National policy framework for driving the growth and development of the agriculture sector by the federal government, under the able leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said:”The regulations are indeed potent in curbing quackery and promoting safety of animal products and trade competitiveness.
“Worthy of mention also is the institutes facilitation of capacity building in the livestock subsector. As the saying goes: If you know better, you will do better.”
“I have no iota of doubt that this council, filled with an array of accomplished Animal Scientists of various professional disciplines, will fulfil its core function, which is to offer leadership in the governance of the affairs of the Institute to continue to deliver on its mandates.”