Nigeria plans to invest over N2.5 trillion in the livestock sector of the economy over the next five years in an effort to address the ongoing farmers/herders conflicts that have had a detrimental effect on the agricultural sector. It is anticipated that the Federal Government will allocate a minimum of N312.47b to initiate the reform, with a subsequent evaluation of progress and funding. The proposed expenditure is part of a blueprint recently presented to Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to promote sustainable livestock reforms and mitigate related conflicts.
The funding is projected to be sourced from various annual budgets and statutory contributions from key revenue generating ministries, departments and agencies (MDA) like the natural resources fund and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as well as from local and international investors. Also as part of the recommendations, the President Tinubu is currently considering the pressing need to establish the Federal Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Department as a measure to ensure sustainable reform of livestock production systems, including mitigation measures for reducing related conflicts,
Efforts to transform livestock sector involve comprehensive approach.
It also urged the National Assembly to carefully examine the Acts that established the National Animal Production Research Institute (NAPRI) and the National Veterinary Research Institute (NVRI). Efforts to transform the livestock sector involve a comprehensive approach includes examining laws and regional agreements, transitioning from transhumance livestock production to more intensive systems, enhancing production and productivity, addressing conflicts, improving communication management, and evaluating national policies and programs. Additionally, there is a focus on strengthening institutional capacity and coordination.
In the 53-page blueprint, the 26-member Committee, led by Professor Attahiru Jega, former Vice Chancellor of Bayero University, Kano, and former Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), emphasized among other things, the need for careful examination over laws, rules, and community agreements in order to find an equitable compromise that would allow livestock to move around without conflicts. The blueprint also urged helping those who had their animals stolen or killed by bandits to start again by providing them with the relief support and resources they needed to rebuild their livelihood and livestock rearing.
A support intervention Programme must be put into place.
Due to the high number of deaths and property destruction caused by cattle rustling and banditry attacks in just six states, a support intervention Programme must be put into place. Five cows, one bull, basic housing, feed supply for a year, and a conditional monetary transfer of N10,000 per month for one year can be used to support a rehabilitation program that aims to help one thousand victims in each state. At least one of the cows should have a calf within this year, guaranteeing the family a steady stream of income from milk sales.
By repeating this process three times over the course of five years, we can increase our potential milk and beef output by 18,000 and rehabilitate 18,000 victims. The blueprint is based on the conclusions and suggestions made at a national conference in Nigeria on the topic of “Sustainable Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts in Nigeria.” The conference which took place from February 13-15, this year, at the NAF Conference Centre in Abuja, was attended by many people, including Mr. Martins Oloja, the managing director and editor-in-chief of The Guardian Newspaper.
Lessons from prior initiatives were considered in the blueprints.
Attendees at the conference discussed various issue that has impeded the development of livestock industry, especially the ruminants (Cattle, Sheep and Goats), including issues of population growth, urbanization, economic growth, cattle rustling, banditry, and related security concerns, and the prevailing farmer-herder conflicts. To propose interventions and solutions that would have a longer-lasting impact, the Blueprint also considered the lessons learned from prior attempts and initiatives to address the difficulties of the livestock industry. It also recognizes the Federal Government’s ongoing interventions and incorporates such programs into the context of the proposed solutions.