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Livestock production is key to economy growth

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By Usman Oladimeji

Production of livestock is important in driving economic progress.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, stated that livestock production plays a crucial role in driving the economic growth and development of the nation. During the opening of the 6th Council of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS), the Minister emphasized the potential for the livestock sector to provide employment opportunities for young people, who make up a significant portion of the country’s population. He added that livestock production is important in driving economic growth and ensuring food security through all stages of production.

It was mentioned that livestock plays a crucial role in supporting households financially and in reducing poverty by generating sustainable income. To this end, the current administration has implemented programs to prioritize livestock production in order to drive our national economic growth. In the past ten years, the sub sector in Nigeria has seen substantial advancements according to the minister. It is now a well-structured and efficient industry that plays a crucial role in boosting the Agricultural gross domestic product (GDP).

There is a need for a thriving animal husbandry sub sector.

Abdullahi highlighted NIAS contribution in upholding standards within the sector. Through their regulatory activities, they ensure that producers and other stakeholders adhere to the necessary guidelines along the value chains. He believes that this will result in greater market opportunities for our livestock goods and more foreign currency coming into the country. The ministry expressed confidence that the Institute, under the leadership of its Council, will find solutions to improve the processing, marketing, and use of livestock products in Nigeria, ensuring durability and sustainability.

Professor Baba Yusuf Abubakar, the President of NIAS, representing a group of 29 members of the 6th Council, affirmed their commitment to achieving the four Ministerial Action Points during a meeting with the Minister. Professor Abubakar emphasized the importance of updating the NIAS Act, stating that it has been nearly ten years since its last amendment. He stressed the need for a thriving animal husbandry sub sector to boost agricultural GDP in an ever-evolving profession.

One-third of the agric sector’s GDP contribution is from livestock.

Therefore, it is crucial for us to modernize our approach to animal farming by embracing international standards, he said. This will help to boost profits and utilize livestock farming for creating jobs and ensuring a sustainable way of living. Hence, it is essential to update and make changes to the NIAS Act to enhance our oversight capabilities. Also, the livestock sub sector plays a crucial role in ensuring food security and fostering national development in Nigeria.

According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the sub-sector makes up approximately one-third of the agricultural sector’s 21% contribution to the national GDP. The livestock industry plays a crucial role in national development through three main avenues. Firstly, it significantly contributes to ensuring national food security by providing essential protein sources like meat, milk, and eggs for the Nigerian population. Livestock are also essential for securing food and enhancing soil health by producing manure that enriches nutrients for agriculture, ultimately contributing to the overall food security of the nation.

Related Article: FG to invest N2.5tr to boost livestock sector

In addition, the sub sector contributes in creating employment opportunities for millions of individuals throughout the entire production cycle, from raising animals to selling livestock products. A large majority of those working in agriculture, approximately 80 percent, are employed in small-scale farming activities, which include both crop cultivation and livestock farming. Livestock farming Management not only brings income to pastoralists in rural regions but also contributes to government revenue through levies and taxes. It also holds significant cultural and social value in Nigeria, being a fundamental part of traditional practices and ceremonies in various communities.

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