The Nigerian Society for Animal Production (NSAP) has called for deliberate measures and policies to address the negative impacts of climate change on livestock production in the country.
NSAP President, Prof. Francis Abeke, made this call on Tuesday at the 12th Joint Annual Meeting of the Animal Science Association of Nigeria (ASAN) and the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) in Abuja.
He said it was necessary if Nigeria would achieve its vision and mission of providing animal protein food for Nigerians at affordable prices.
Abeke said the negative influence of climate change on animal agriculture could not be overemphasized and called for more science, smart science, and cutting edge technology to reposition the sector.
According to him, the society is committed to meeting the yearning needs and aspirations of Nigerians for adequate animal protein in their diets.
He said collective will and rugged determination was evident among all stakeholders in the livestock industry as it was important to synergise and strategies to achieve a robust livestock industry in Nigeria.
“I want to call on all tiers of government to redouble their efforts in providing a suitable production environment through policies, as well as improving the funding of this important sector of the economy.
“The current low scale and almost subsistent production system cannot meet the animal protein needs of the vast and growing population of Nigerians and for export.
“I strongly believe that as we put on our thinking caps and brainstorm on the various challenges facing the livestock industry during this conference; we will come out with a workable solution,’’ he said.
On his part, Prof. Baba Yusuf, President, Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, said food and nutrition security was very critical and central to the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Federal Government.
He said NIAS as a regulatory body in the livestock sub-sector, would continue to strive to be very innovative, strategic and transformational.
Yusuf pledged the Institute’s commitment to work with all stakeholders from Government, Academia and, particularly, the industry, in order to be more impactful.
“As animal scientists, we must make extra efforts towards building bridges of hope, tolerance, cooperation and unity across our profession.
“This is the only way for Animal Agriculture to fully unleash its potential and relevance towards the economic growth of our country,’’ he said.
Dr Sabi Abdullahi, Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, while commending the associations, said the theme, ‘Pathways to Addressing the Challenges of Climate Change in Animal Agriculture,’ was apt.
He said climate change effects in agriculture had ravaged the world with severe impact on lives and livelihood of crop and livestock farmers.
The minister said all stakeholders must collaborate not only to mitigate the impact, but raise preparedness level by putting in place policies and strategies that support climate-smart agriculture.
“With the huge potentials in livestock resources alongside low intake of animal sourced protein, the present administration has set its focus on ensuring that all Nigerians have access to balanced and wholesome diets.
“This can be realised only by making the livestock sub-sector of the economy viable enough not only to provide an affordable source of protein but create employment and earn foreign exchange for Nigeria.
“This is the essence of the State of Emergency on Food Security as declared by President Bola Tinubu on July 13,’’ he said.
He said his ministry, in recognition of the significance and strategic importance of the livestock sub-sector in Nigeria’s quest for sustainable economic development, had begun implementing the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).
The plan, he said, was to create a robust, vibrant and competitive livestock sector capable of meeting the national demand for animal protein and place Nigeria among top players in the global livestock economy.
Earlier, former Governor of Kano State, Dr Umar Ganduje, said livestock played major roles in the entire food system; as manure was a critical source of natural fertiliser and also used as draft animals to boost productivity in low mechanisation regions.
According to him, livestock are important assets for vulnerable communities.
He said that globally, no fewer than 500 million pastoralists relied on livestock herding for food, income, and as a store of wealth.
“Locally, livestock production systems have the potential to contribute to the preservation of biodiversity and to carbon sequestration in soils and biomass.
“Livestock farming is one of the most profitable businesses in the agricultural industry.
“As long as meat, leather products, milk, etc. are in demand, livestock production will always remain a profitable business,’’ he said.
Ganduje, however, called for more attention and commitment to research and innovation as twin tools for the development of livestock.