Stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector has been charged on prioritising standards in production to guarantee earning of foreign exchange.
The President, Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN), Mr Taiwo Adeoye, gave the charge recently at the the sixth Annual General Meeting with the theme: ‘Sustainable Livestock Production for National Development’ and to mark the 10th years of existence of the Nigeria Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) in Abuja.
He also called on the Federal Government to prioritise the livestock sub-sector by meeting some of their challenges to meet international standards.
According to him, the Federal Government needs to holistically look at the livestock production in the country because of the huge opportunity that lies in the sub-sector.
He added that a lot needed to be done to upgrade livestock production.“Nigeria is the third livestock producer in West Africa. Despite the population of livestock producer in the country, majority are into substance farming.
“The gap between Nigeria and other parts of the world who are doing well in livestock production will continue to widen if challenges facing the sub-sector are not put into consideration by the Federal Government.
“The livestock sub-sector contributes only 5.1 per cent to our national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) making Nigeria an importer of protein food of animal origin.
“Animal Science Association of Nigeria is seriously concerned with the economy well being of Nigeria as well as the welfare of its members.
“The association will support the initiative of the federal government aimed at improving the livestock sub-sector and all it’s value chains,” he said.
Professor Israel Aju, the President Nigeria institute of animal science (NIAS), in his remark urged the government to ensure that NIAS and ASAN members are employed in NAFDAC to help in safeguarding what the citizens consumed.
On his part, Professor Eustace Iyayi, Registrar, NIAS, said that the conference was coming when national security was threatened by pastoralists and farmers clashes resulting to the death of people and economic loss to the country.
Iyayi said that according to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, only 40 per cent of Nigeria 84 million hectares of arable land is presently cultivated.
The Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh, promised that government would not relent in its effort to identify solutions to problems of the industry.
Ogbeh was represented by the Acting Director, Animal Husbandry Services at the ministry, Mr John Taiwo, said that the present government focus was to earn foreign exchange through trade in livestock products.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institution, Mr Linus Okorie assured the sub-sector that the National Assembly would not relent in its effort and commitment to support the sector in achieving its primary objectives to Boost productivity.
“Our committee is of the view that the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science Act of 2007 has made adequate and provisions for the growth and regulation of the industry.
“We are ready to support any legislative intervention that may emerge from this workshop and similar discourses that is intended to further enhance the growth of the sub-sector, ” he said.