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44,368 livestock farmers benefit from GEMS4 feed finishing project

Over 44,368 livestock farmers drawn from the three northern states of Kano, Bauchi and Gombe have been trained in modern feed finishing techniques, under the Growth And Employment in States (GEMS4) initiatives in Nigeria.

21,556 out of the total number of farmers that benefited from the scheme which was funded by the British Government through UKaid as part of its development assistance to Nigeria, are women.

Sarah Crawford, who is the operations manager of GEMS4, made this disclosure during a day programme tagged ‘Gems4 Feed Finishing Learning and Way Froward Event’ with the beneficiaries of the scheme held in Kano.

According to her, the livestock development project was primarily conceived to provide skills and some measure of competence to Feed Finishing Entrepreneurs breeding domestic animals such as: Goats, Sheep and Cattle.

She said that the GEMS4`s Feed Finishing programme which was scheduled to be scaled -down in December this year had trained the beneficiaries on how to make livestock breeding in Nigeria a profitable business.

Crawford explained that the livestock farmers which participated in the programme were drawn from Peri-Urban and Rural areas of the three states where the scheme was implemented.

Giving an overview of the GEMS4 and other Intervention of the Feed Finishing, Kola Kuku, group intervention manager of the programme revealed that  the core components of the training given to the farmers range from: Induction services, supplementary Food Sales, Advisory Services, Animal Health Care, and Marketing Services, among others.

Kuku also noted that the training provided had helped put the farmers in a position to successfully scale-up their livestock breeding activities from the usual traditional way of breeding, to a modern one.

Delivering a presentation on going forward for the beneficiaries of the programme, Jon Marlow, a Feed Finishing Expert for the GEMS4 project, stated that the scheme had greatly exposed the numerous investment opportunities available in Nigeria Livestock sub-sector to the investing public.

He challenged the farmers to work hand in hand with ‘Animal Care, a private sector driven input and animal feeding supplying enterprise in enhancing their breeding operations as GEMS4 activities scales down next month (December) in the country.

In the same vein, Marlow charged the farmers to explore the funding window made available to the Nigerian Government by the World Bank for the purpose of developing the livestock sub-sector to grow their business.

Speaking to BusinessDay on the side-lines of the event, Shehu Bawa, director in charge of Veterinary Services, Kano Ministry of Agriculture, who stood for the Kano State Government at the occasion, acknowledged the tremendous impact the GEMS4 Feed Finishing programme has had on small-scale Livestock business in the state.

Bawa disclosed that the implementation of the GEMS4 programme has enable more people in the state to embrace the breeding of animals as a mean of employment and sources of income.

He commended the management of the programme and the government of United Kingdom for the support given to Nigeria through the programme, and solicited for more support of that nature.

Six directors in charge of Veterinary Services drawn from: Borno, Gombe, Kaduna, Kano, and Jigawa, were among the several stakeholders Livestock sub-sector that attended the one day programme, and the highlight of the day was the development of the ‘Way Forward Action Plan’ by participants during the breakout session.

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