Like so many of our economic and social problems in Nigeria, the challenges of nomadic livestock farming in Nigeria among other things are an infrastructure problem. Fundamentally, all agrarian nations until they make the necessary investments in power, transportation and water networks witness these challenges.
Nigeria’s lack of power and equally, significant cold chain and water infrastructure means that we are always moving livestock rather than water and we are always moving it in search of water and fodder.
Brazil, as an example has 300 million plus heads of cattle. If you have travelled around urban and rural Brazil, you do not see livestock moving, rather what is moving is meat through a cold chain, by rail and road to major cities, ports and airports to all kitchens, restaurants and tables around the world.
The transformative potential of infrastructural development for Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. Major infrastructure development projects create hundreds of thousands of low to mid-skill jobs on a sustained, long-term basis across the entire project value chain, from design, construction to operation, as well as maintenance. In 2013, the Africa Development Bank (“AfDB”) estimated that Nigeria’s GDP could have grown by an additional 2 percentage points (vs. 5.4% actually recorded) if we had greater infrastructure stock.
Furthermore, access to infrastructure greatly influences the productivity of private investment and improves a country’s competitiveness. Every $1 investment on infrastructure has an estimated multiplier effect of 6-8x on economic activity. Sustained infrastructural investment will be key to realizing Nigeria’s twin economic objectives of diversification and industrialization.
Inadequate power and transportation networks currently hamper the agricultural industry by limiting processing capabilities and the efficient movement of produce from farms to domestic and export markets. Inadequate transportation networks especially rail is a significant constraint if mining output is to be moved to ports for export to other markets.
It will be impossible to improve our currently thin industrial and manufacturing base without reliable and efficient power supply. Power generation, back-up and other self-generation costs imposes a significant cost burden on business, accounting for an estimated 15-40% of operating expenses across industries and a significant portion of capital expenditure for large industrial businesses.
Improvements in infrastructure attract further domestic and foreign investments and it is these investments, which are critical to job creation, perhaps Nigeria’s most important demography related challenge for a country that will have 500 million people in 30 years.
Improved infrastructure will also lead to better social outcomes, including education, health and life expectancy. Strong economic growth in all emerging markets has always been premised on a consistent and rapid infrastructure development programme. No country globally has succeeded in developing its economy, in diversifying its economy and in lifting its people out of poverty without a substantial programme of rapid and diversified investment in its infrastructure stock.
Through the recession, one part of Nigeria’s government and economy continued to grow – Lagos State. Lagos has built a disciplined approach to financing infrastructure through the capital markets, raising bonds which are applied 100% to infrastructure. On average75% to physical infrastructure (roads, power, rail etc) – and 25% to social infrastructure (education, healthcare, stadia and parks).
Compare this to the sovereign, which raises bonds and utilizes a majority to finance recurrent expenditure and a minority for capital expenditure including infrastructure. I always remember a speech by late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, from 1963 I believe, where he remarks that the Western region government’s greatest achievement was keeping recurrent expenditure in the prior year to under 25%.
There is so much in our history that remains relevant and applicable today and as a nation, there is an urgent imperative for us to commit to a massive public and private investment over the next 30 years into building the infrastructure to support what will be the third most populous nation on earth.
Over 200,000 megawatts of power, up to 10,000 kms of rail, up to 100,000 kms of roads, up to 5,000kms of gas networks, water, waste management, broadband and further telecoms infrastructure, educational and healthcare infrastructure, student housing etc…, need to be developed, financed and built. We must also do this with a focus on low carbon infrastructure.
I wish us all a most exciting journey.
An extract of discourse in Ekitipanupo Forum towards finding a lasting solution to livestock farming issues and eliminating the menace of violent herdsmen in Nigeria.
Agricultural and security experts can provide the necessary solutions to the problems associated with nomadic livestock farming.
1. A technical and investigative study of the immediate and remote causes of the problems associated with livestock farming in Nigeria should be carried out by government, particularly that of nomadic herdsmen. Recommendations should be made on how to mitigate all the failures in that sector and redevelop the sector. A crime free society is desirable.
2. Currently, farmers are being encouraged by agricultural experts to cultivate a particular type of plant that is repoignant to cattle,round the farm. This will keep the animals off.
3. The herdsmen should be encouraged to feed their livestock with forage crops. Forage crops are crop cultivated for feeding livestock. Nomadic herdsmen for now,prefer zero cost feeding.
4. Modernisation of livestock farming in Nigeria.
5. Establishment of meat processing factories in the North and the middle belt. Afterall,we eat imported frozen fish,frozen turkey and frozen fish in Nigeria. Farmers,state government and Nafdac can work together and standardise meat processing business. We don’t need too many heads of cattle down south.. What we need is animal protein. The animals are no pets,why must we flood the south with them.
6. Irrigation practices in the North will provide lush vegetation for feeding animals up North.
7. The political dimensions of the activities of herdsmen should be addressed. Apparently, some of them are involved in communal clashes. Some are land grabbers.
8. Government should address the issue of proliferation of light and small arms in West Africa..
9. Education,both formal and informal should be widespread in terms of capacity and quality,nationwide. We need to make our citizens appreciate the value of life and the essence of living.
10. Elimination of the culture of impunity in our land. The rule of law must be established in Nigeria.
11. Strict state control laws on illegal activities of herdsmen and appropriate sanctions should be meted out to those who violate the laws of the land.
12. Government should disarm all herdsmen and ensure their biometric registration. The state and federal government can collaborate on this.
13. Job creation nationwide will reduce all crimes.
14. Export of meat products like corned beef will create an external market.
15. There is possibility of a boycott of meat products,if the herdsmen remain unlawful.
16. The agricultural sector in the North needs to be well structured and repositioned for Northern state governments to tax the players and enhance their IGR.
17. There is need for rapid intelligence gathering and proactive steps on the part of government and all intelligence agencies.
Also, we need to employ modern technology in the area of security management in our clime.
We have said it severally that we need to build strong social institutions and strong people. It is therefore very necessary that as a nation,we must embark on a cultural revolution. The time to up our value system is now. For long we have been with poor values. Our nation is deficient in moral capital.
I strongly believe that with a clear focus, government can tackle all the problems associated with nomadic livestock farming in Nigeria. We did not have crisis of this magnitude in the 1960s to 1980s. (Nomadic Livestock Farming)