Animal technologists and scientists have harped on integrated farming, robust collaboration between the gown and town, cooperative activities and application of modern techniques and technologies in fish and livestock farming for sustainability.
They said these during the Nigerian Association of Animal Health and Husbandry Technologists’ (NAAHHT’s) annual lecture at the Federal College of Animal Health and Production Technology, Moor Plantation, Ibadan.
Speaking on “Miximising productivity and profit of livestock and aquaculture towards national economic development, Mr Femi Akinwale, Chief Executive Officer of FDH AgroVet Nig., said integrated farming, where a farmer combines various aspects of agriculture that can make a by-product or waste material from one farming activity an input in another farming activity, could cut cost and drastically improve profitability and business sustainability.
He also suggested buying poultry and fish farming inputs in bulk to have a price negotiating advantage. This could be done, as he said, by farmers coming together in a cooperative to buy feeds or other inputs in bulk.
As the chairperson on the occasion, Mrs Olufunmilayo Agbato, Executive Vice President, Animal Care, said maximizing productivity could be realistic if farmers were ready to adopt new findings, technologies and improved inputs.She lamented that the country had been on the downward trend in food production in recent times as a result of poor funding of agriculture, low technology application and displacement of farmers by cattle herders.
Profitability and sustainability are also affected, according to her, by undue advantage of foreign investors over indigenous ones. Foreign investors have access to the government loans at special interest rates while indigenous companies languish in capital inadequacy, she claimed.
While speaking on cattle business and the associated crises, the Animal Care vice president said the animal could be raised intensively, adding that cattle herders could invest in cattle ranching, slots and pasture development for themselves and others. Grasses could be grown, fermented, and conserved for cattle feeding in dry seasons.
Citing the example of Botswana, she argued that the country has a population of 1.9 million people and 2.8 million cattle. The cattle, she said, did not graze openly and would not be used to destroy farmland. But Nigeria, with just about 20 million cattle, is enmeshed in clashes as a result of failure to take responsibility.
The solution, she said, is that cattle breeders and owners should buy farmland, plant grasses for pastures and harvest the excess in wet seasons and preserve it for use in dry seasons.Oyo State chairman of NAAHHT, Mr Kazeem Akingboye, said the summit was to proffer solutions to challenges confronting agribusiness in the country.The challenges, he said, include funding, double taxation, raw materials such as maize for fish and poultry, as well as egg gluts, among others. He called on the government to intervene in farmers’ challenges, especially in financing and marketing.