The Sheep and Goat Farmers Association of Nigeria (SHEGOFAN) has urged the Federal Government to allow its members to partake in the FADAMA programme so as to boost their productivity.
The National President of SHEGOFAN, Alhaji Wahabi Salami, made the appeal on Friday in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ibadan.
Salami said that the participation of SHEGOFAN members in the World Bank programme would facilitate their efforts to breed more animals and produce quality dairy products for local consumption and exports.
“Only crop growers are enrolled into the FADAMA project but small ruminant farmers also need it; attention should not be given to crop farmers alone, both livestock and crop farmers are all important for the country to make meaningful progress.
“Small ruminants such as sheep and goats are very important in Nigeria, there is virtually no household you will not see the animals; their products like meat and milk are indispensable to human beings.
“So, we need adequate government’s support, including provision of loans; we also need legislation to curb the theft of animals, let there be a law outlawing stealing of animals,” he said.
Salami also urged the Federal Government to support the association with the provision of animal vaccines that would prevent small ruminants from contracting infections during the rainy and dry seasons.
“The Peste des Petits Ruminants (PPR) vaccine should be given to the animals ahead of the rainy season, so that they would not go down with cold, runny nose and other ailments.
“We have been appealing to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture over the years but they never responded; they only gave us the vaccine once in 2010, since then, we have been managing on our own,” he said.
Salami said that the Consultancy Group of SHEGOFAN had trained no fewer than 50, 000 livestock farmers across the country in 2017 on indigenous animal health technologies.
“We invited animal nutritionists, veterinary doctors and animal breeders to give lectures during the training; we will also continue the training this year. By early March, we will hold the training in the South-West geopolitical zone,” he said.
Salami, however, advised the sheep and goat farmers to join cooperative groups to enable to have access to loans, saying that the government would only be interested in giving out loans to cooperative societies and not individuals.
He, however, commended the Federal Government for its efforts to revive rail transportation from the northern part of the country to the southern part, saying that it was more convenient and safer to transport animals with trains. (NAN)