African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has said that the livestock sector offers unprecedented opportunities to Nigeria’s economic recovery efforts, adding that the sector employs around 30 percent of the rural population.
The bank, however, lamented that the sector contributes less than 10 per cent of agricultural Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It expressed optimism that the demand for livestock products would increase in the years ahead, as the sector has the greatest capacity to create a multiplier effect.
The dirctor-general of the Nigeria Country Office of AfDB, Mr Lamin Barrow, stated this at the 10th Annual Joint Meeting of the Animal Science Association of Nigeria and Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
He said, “At present, the livestock sector employs around 30 per cent of the rural population but contributes less than 10 percent of agricultural GDP. This could increase considerably if investments are made to raise productivity and foster value addition.
“The demand for livestock products is expected to surge in the years ahead. With a population that is set to double in size from more than 200 million today to nearly 400 million by 2050, coupled with rapid urbanisation, poultry, beef and milk consumption are projected to increase by 253 per cent, 117 per cent, and 577 per cent respectively.
“In the production sectors, livestock has the greatest capacity to create a multiplier effect and it is estimated that every additional dollar spent will generate, at the household level in sub-Saharan Africa, $2.9 in primary livestock production and $5.4 in livestock product processing”, he said.
Barrow noted that the main players in livestock production are smallholders, small livestock operators, and entrepreneurs, while large commercial holdings are few but expanding, especially in the poultry sub-sector.
“Total annual production of milk, meat and eggs amount to 0.5 billion litres, 1.4 and 0.6 million tonnes, respectively. Livestock provide increased economic stability to rural households in the form of cash buffers, as capital reserve, and create a hedge against inflation.
“Driven by high consumer demand, the livestock sub-sector has been growing at a rate of 12.7 per cent higher than agricultural growth rate of 6.8 per cent,” he said.
He said an example of what AfDB is doing as part of Feed Africa is the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) programme, launched in 2018 and currently being implemented in 27 African countries including Nigeria where TAAT supported commodities such as wheat, maize, rice and aquaculture technologies.
“Working closely with the private sector, initiatives such as TAAT will help increase Africa’s total food production by 120 million metric tons and benefit 12 million families within the next five years”, he added.
In his remarks, the president Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, Professor Baba Abubakar said the 5th NIAS Council was inaugurated by the minister of agriculture early this year soon after which the council initiated some critical activities towards repositioning NIAS for increased effectiveness.
He said some of these activities include reviewing the activities of some critical organs such as the NIAS Consultancy Services Ltd., the Board of Fellows, and the Postgraduate School.
“We have also initiated a major step regarding the issue of the establishment of new Animal Husbandry Research Institutes and hopefully, this should gain some traction in the coming year.
“Additionally, the Council is expected to sign off on a very robust and detailed 5-Year Strategic Plan (2022-2026) by the end of this year. The Institute is currently working with the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on curricula in Animal Husbandry for skill acquisition by middle level workers which will lead to their certification for skilled labour across international boundaries”, he noted.
Professor Abubakar said the institute has also been recognised by NBTE as the Skill Sector Council for Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, which opens a wide range of opportunities for NIAS to develop and validate curricula in Animal Husbandry for industry attendants/assistants including their training.
“Over time and through the efforts of the Institute, several states have been establishing the Departments of Animal Husbandry Services which is a major achievement for our profession,” he added.