Says Nigeria Yet to Harness Inherent Potential
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, has said the livestock subsector contributes about 10 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), even as he added that the sector is yet to harness its potential fully.
Abdullahi disclosed this at the opening of the 59th Congress and Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the National Veterinary Medical Association of Nigeria (NVMA), held in Lagos State.
He said livestock farming accounts for 25 per cent of the Agricultural GDP and provides livelihood to over 30 per cent of rural Nigerians.
“The livestock sub-sector accounts for about 10% of National GDP, 25% of Agricultural GDP and provides livelihood to over 30% of the Nigerian rural population,” the Minister disclosed in a statement issued on Wednesday by Obe Mabel, the Principal Information Officer of the Ministry.
He maintained that the sub-sector has a high growth potential, but the potential has not been tapped fully over the years due to the preponderance of a wide range of animal diseases and inadequate improvement in the genetic potential of the livestock, amongst others.
“If properly harnessed, livestock farming would provide adequate meat, milk and eggs for human consumption and by-products such as hides, skins, hooves, horns, tallows, etc, as industrial raw materials for other livestock.
The Minister revealed that to meet the increasing gap in the availability, affordability, and safety of food of animal origin and animal products, there was a need to maximize the production and productivity levels of the livestock resource of the country which can be achieved through efficient and strategic animal disease prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment
Abdullahi noted that the issues of climate change, upsurge in outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, natural disasters, insecurity, and unfortunate perennial farmers-herders clashes, among other factors that are persistent in sub-Saharan Africa are affecting the livelihoods of people and posing threats to global peace and food and nutritional security.
He recalled that the prospect for economic growth was beclouded by various factors ranging from the threat of pandemic, the worsening impact of climate change and slow income growth which threatens and undermines the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Sen. Abdullahi pointed out that to align with the agenda, the Ministry had developed a robust roadmap to significantly enhance our national food security and is mobilizing too quickly, but based on consultation and participation of critical stakeholders, to reverse the current food crises situation in the country which will accelerate progress towards sustainable development.”
He highlighted some critical activities the ministry had undertaken to improve animal health services delivery nationwide, including the development of national animal health policy and national strategic plans for: (i). the control of major Transboundary Animal Diseases: CBPP, PPR, FMD, ASF, Tick and Tick-Borne Diseases (ii). National Strategy for Aquatic Animal Disease Prevention and Control (iii) National Strategic plan for eliminating dog-mediated human Rabies amongst others.
Sen. Abdullahi, also revealed that the Ministry is planning to hold a National Agriculture and Food Security Summit in November 2023, where Government at every level, the organized private sector and international investors and bodies will be involved.
He, therefore, charged the veterinary professionals to take seriously the challenges of outbreaks of diseases and pests as their contribution to our national development objectives as the forum provided a platform for cross-fertilization of ideas to take the profession to greater heights.
In his remarks, the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Ruth Abisola Olusanya, said that the state was working tirelessly to take agriculture and food system to greater heights as the cornerstone of the economy.
He added that the state had launched a 5-year Agricultural and Food System roadmap, and the idea was to showcase opportunities inherent in the state to bring in private sector players, multinational investors, and NGOs to work together to boost food security in the state.
Earlier in her address, the National President of NVMA, Dr Adetuberu Olutoyin, said the meeting attests to the Association’s shared commitment, adding that their role as veterinarians was to ensure food safety and promote animal health/welfare.
She also stated that the forum would serve as a clarion call to take the profession to greater heights