Stakeholders urge FG to upscale traditional livestock production systems

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By Chimezie Godfrey

The Federal Government has been urged to invest in creating the needed infrastructure, skills and capacity for transforming traditional livestock production systems in Nigeria.

This is contained in a Communique issued at the end of the National Conference on Livestock Reforms and Mitigation of Associated Conflicts organised by the Kano State Government held Tuesday at NAF Conference Centre, Abuja.

The Communique jointly signed by th Chairman
Conference Planning Committee,
Professor Attahiru Jega, and Chairman, Communiqué Drafting Committee, Dr. Rabe Mani noted that globally, there were around 500 million pastoralists who rely on livestock herding for food, income, source of wealth and livelihoods, as well as providing social safety nets.

National growth LS

It pointed out that the Nigerian livestock sector with a population of about 20.8 million cattle is worth more than N33 trillion constituting 7% of the total Agricultural GDP with the potential for making enormous contributions to livelihood and overall national economic development, adding that the sector also contributes through the provision of raw materials to diverse industries, utilization of agricultural wastes, provision of nutrition, enhancement of food security and employment generation, and also assisting in fertility maintenance, among other benefits.

The Communique however decried the fact that population expansion, land degradation, climate change and associated challenges are leading to degradation of key agricultural and pastoral resources thereby affecting productivity/ and livelihoods with serious negative consequences on the rural economy.

It also noted that there was low level of investments by both the public and private sectors in the livestock value chain occasioned by low level of funding and inadequate policy coordination at all levels, resulting in inadequate extension service delivery, poor animal health management and inadequate delivery of basic education to the herder communities.

In the light of the foregoing among other factors, the Communique urged the government at all levels to invest in creating the needed infrastructure and training to provide the needed skills and capacity for transforming traditional livestock production systems.

The Communique stated,”Following the deliberations of the Conference, the following recommendations are offered:
i) Government at all levels need to invest in creating the needed infrastructure and delivery of essential services in education, health care, veterinary services, extension service delivery, access to information and training to provide the needed skills and capacity for transforming traditional livestock production systems.

“Review the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) and other similar programmes and broaden the development options with dear funding framework and mechanisms to ensure effective implementation, supported by strong political will. Such programmes should be environmentally adaptable, socially acceptable and economically viable over the short, medium and long term periods.

“There is the need to deploy innovative and adaptable technologies grounded in scientific and indigenous people’s knowledge, jointly designed and implemented with strong producers’ participation. Such livestock production practices should lead to increased crops-livestock integration, development of grazing reserves, establishment of smallholder and commercial dairy and beef farms, establishment of ranches, breeds improvement, establishment of pastures and feedlots and management of livestock migration, among other development strategies.”

The Communique called for the strengthening of the role of traditional rulers and community leaders in managing the affairs of farmers and herders including the sustenance of inter-communal relations for effective management of disputes and conflict.

It urged the government to strengthen peace-building interventions at all levels among farmers and herders by adopting proactive early warning and early response mechanisms.

“It will also include adoption of alternative dispute resolution and training of community leaders and other community gatekeepers on techniques of mediation.

“Work out practical mechanisms for increased and viable private sector investmene in the agricultural and pastoral production industry with framework for strengthening backwards integration in the livestock value chains,” it said.

The Communique called for the establishment of the Ministry of Livestock Resources in line with practice in many other West African countries.

According to it, in the altemative, Federal and State Govemments should expand the scope of existing Department of Livestock Production to address the broader needs of the industry.

“Similarly, there is the need for the creation of additional research institutions for beef, dairy and pasture production as a strategy for expanding funding and enacting policies and programmes for the development of the sector at all levels of government.

“Media organizations need to create awareness at all levels that will promote inclusive communities, strengthen harmonious relations to encourage government and private sector investments for cohesive societies and improved productivity. Similarly, profiling and reportage that malign socio-economic and ethnic groups need to be avoided.

“UN Agencies, Bilateral institutions, regional organizations (AU and ECOWAS), national and international CSOs and other support organisations should increase the level of funding and support to the government of Nigeria in mitigating the impact of climate change, addressing technology gaps, addressing poverty and skills gap and improving people’s livelihoods.

“Agricultural and pastoralists organizations, cooperative societies and relevant producer associations and professional bodies need to be supported for improved productivity.
xi) There is the need to revisit and review sub-national, national and regional laws, legislations and policies so as to make applicable reforms for improving Livestock production and addressing conflicts.

“There is the need to adopt Climate Smart Agricultural (CSA) practices, including the adoption of integrated approach to managing landscapes of croplands, rangelands, fores& and fisheries that address the interlinks beueen the quest for food security
and mitigation of the challenges of climate change,” it said.

The Communique stressed the need for the government to strengthen and improve the security architecture for the prevention of violent crimes including cattle rustling, raiding of villages, kidnapping of persons for ransom and trade in illicit arms and drugs.

It said there Is the need to strengthen the process of litigation for more effective dispensation of justice and handling of the various litigations relating to violent crimes and other perpetrators of violent conflice.

It also said there is the need to reform the security and judicial architectures to ensure the curtailing of farmer-herder confli&, cattle rusting, illegal arms trade, imporbtion and proliferation in the county.

It called on political leaders at all levels to refrain from politicizing the issue of farmer-herder conflice and other associated issues while pursuing inclusive processes that will strengthen unity and cooperation in the country.

The revealed that participants expressed satisfaction with the proceedings of the Conference and were unanimous that the implementation of the recommendations will greatly contribute in facilitating seamless transition from traditional livestock production to more robust market and technology driven livestock industry that will meet the animal resources requirements of the country.

According to it, the conference was viewed by participants as timely in view of how the nation is grappling with the challenges of farmer-herder conflict, cattle rustling, banditry and other associated challenges of insecurity, which is taking a heavy toll on the socio-economic development of the country.

The Communique further disclosed that participants unanimously commended the Kano State Government under the leadership of His Excellency, the Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, for initiating and sponsoring the National Conference, which demonstrates his patriotism and strong commitment toward enhancing peaceful co-existence, unity and development in the country;

Among other things, the Communique stressed that participants urged Governor Ganduje to use his good office and influence to present the resolutions and proceedings of the National Conference before the National Council of State and the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF).

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