Institute engages stakeholders to revolutionise livestock production in Nigeria
The International Livestock Research and Training Institute (ILRTI), has commenced engagement with critical stakeholders to revolutionise livestock production in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that some of the stakeholders included the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), Fulbe Global Development and Right Initiatives (FGDRI).
The Executive Director and Chairman, Governing Board of the institute, Dr Kabir Dasuki, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the aim was also to address the challenges in livestock production.
Dasuki who met with officials of MACBAN and FGDRI, said that livestock production constituted a major part of the 27.35 per cent of Nigeria’s total agricultural GDP, and contributed significantly to employment generation.
He said recent estimates put Nigeria’s herd population to about 21.16 million cattle, 43.4 million sheep, 76 million goats, 900,000 donkeys and 180 million poultry.
According to him, the herd population can be improved beyond the present level if there is appropriate capacity building and the right environment.
Dasuki said the institute would improve the capacity of stakeholders and help in upscaling food nutrition and security which were necessary to reduce poverty, improve health care and create jobs.
According to him, the institute will also provide the necessary inputs for Nigeria to harness the potential of the livestock sector to earn foreign exchange.
The Executive Director said that the institute offered opportunities for stakeholders to acquire skills and knowledge on various aspects of livestock.
“ We currently have some students undergoing training in the techniques of modern livestock breeding and the application of mini ranches, high yielding grass with less water usage at our main campus in Sokoto.
“ This will enable herders to breed cattle without necessarily moving from location to location during lactation, and get higher milk yield in excess of 55 litres per day.
“ Our other in-house training techniques holistically centres on peace, and counterterrorism, which are major ingredients in nation building and rapid community development.
“ We are happy to report that we have championed and activated six Peace Ambassadors groups in the north central states of Benue and Nasarawa with two more states to be captured before the third quarter of 2024,” he said.
Dasuki said the institute currently had improved livestock breeds in its stables at Sokoto Gudali.
He added that sustained effort was being made to set up a research department for the cross breeding of the popular Brazilian Zebu type breeds with local breeds.
” This is with a view to improving yield, disease resistance, and higher beef production.”
He said that the institute was determined to transform Africa’s livestock future through training, research and innovation, advocacy and policies.
“ We are currently working at securing and preparing farmlands for forage in 15 states of the federation as well as the FCT and in building mini ranches for our graduates at a very minimal cost.
“Currently, we are in advance discussion with investors in Ekiti State for both forage and a mini learning campus.
“ We aid in resource mobilisation through partnership with Development Banks especially in the Middle East and other global developmental financial institutions,” he said.
This, he said, included an MoU with the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF) for capital investment of 100 million dollars, interest free.
Dasuki said the dialogue with MACBAN and others was about working with groups and strategic stakeholders whose natural habitat and DNA flows with livestock.
He said the institute believed that the presumed vices in the people could be turned to strength in an encompassing manner where no one or tribe is left behind and be embraced in love with respect and dignity.
Responding, the National President of MACBAN, Alhaji Baba Ngelzarma, commended the institute for the initiative, promising to study its objectives to be able to make informed decision.
Ngelzarma said the association was willing to embrace initiatives that would enhance the productivity of herders and guarantee their interest for the overall development of the nation.
On his part, the President General of FGDRI, Dr Salim Umar, said it was the first time that a non-governmental organisation would come up with such initiative, and pledged to key in with an open mind.
According to him, various initiatives by government to address the challenge of livestock production in Nigeria were not allowed to succeed because of extraneous factors.