At a workshop for Animal health experts & production networks organized by the ECOWAS Commission and the Food & Agricultural Organization (FAO), agricultural experts said that the region’s livestock which contributes about 35 percent of the West Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is underdeveloped.
Minister of Agriculture, Nigeria, Dr. Audu Ogbe represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry said Nigeria’s livestock sector is yet to realize its potentials owing to the transhumance and semi-intensive system of the livestock cycle, which did not allow for proper nutrition, growth and production of animals.
In addition to the redundant production process of the sector, Ogbe said that several fatal clashes between herders and farmers in Nigeria, despite existing regulations on transhumance in the West African region was worrisome. He called for a lasting solution to the problem.
Speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Education, Science and Culture, Professor Halidou Bolly, reaffirmed ECOWAS grasp of the importance of animal resources in ensuring food and nutritional security, income generation, poverty reduction and wealth creation. Bolly said, “over 70 percent of the region’s population earn more than 50 percent of their incomes from livestock rearing. The livestock sector solely contributes to about 35 percent of the region’s agricultural GDP.”
He said ECOWAS developed a strategy for the transformation of the sector via the ECOWAS Agriculture Policy (ECOWAP), and a Regional Agriculture Investment Plan (RAIP), to properly harness the sector’s economic potentials.
The 5-day workshop convened Animal health experts, production networks, senior regional government officials and representatives of supportive international agencies.
Meantime, the commission and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), has signed a letter of cooperation confirming their commitments for an integrated fight against drug trafficking, organized crime, corruption and drug abuse in West Africa.
The cooperation signed by the ECOWAS President, H.E Marcel De Souza and the Executive Director of UNODC Yuri Fedotov, at the 71st session of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly, yesterday, will harmonize the UNODC’s Regional Programme and the ECOWAS Action Plan to effectively fight against drug abuse and related crimes in West Africa.
Implementation of the cooperation extends from the year 2016 to 2020, and aims to mobilize joint efforts to successfully address current and future illegal drug transition and production in West Africa.