• Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Increasing local inputs in feed production seen to boost Nigeria’s livestock industry

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For Nigeria to have a thriving livestock industry, experts say the country must increase its local inputs in the production of animal feeds.

The experts noted that despite the country’s livestock industry expanding in recent years, its animal feed market remains significantly dependent on imported raw materials.

This was the position of stakeholders who participated in the setting up of a multi-stakeholder platform (MSP) for feed and fodder in Nigeria. The event was organised by the African Union InterAfrican Bureau for Animal Resources and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security.

The experts called for a functional roadmap towards establishing a registered, efficient, and sustainable livestock sector, with a particular emphasis on enhancing the quality and hygiene of raw milk.

They emphasized the importance of investing in commercial fodder production, stressing the importance of collaboration and support from both local and international actors to enhance competitiveness in the production of feeds through private sector investments.

According to them, an efficient and effective MSP holds the potential to catalyse positive change across the country’s livestock value chain.

Amole, Tunde, country representative of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), noted that Nigeria has spent so much foreign exchange importing animal feed ingredients such as corn, soybean and wheat to serve domestic production.

Tunde noted that Nigeria imports millions of tons of animal feed and raw materials yearly and mostly used for the production of cattle, poultry and pigs.

To save the industry, he urged for improved independence in raw material sources for the production of animal feed to mitigate supply concerns and ensure sustainable development.

He called for the expansion of farmed land for intensive grass and animal feed production, noting that it would help cut down production costs of animal feeds and address challenges facing livestock production in the country.

He added that reducing production costs of animal feeds requires collective efforts, saying that the adoption of emerging technologies, fostering innovation, sharing knowledge, forming partnerships, and cultivating an enabling environment was crucial for improving the quality of animal feeds.

ILRI country representative said the dairy cattle industry is one of the primary sources of income among cattle raisers while urging stakeholders to work to address feed quality and scarcity and improve the current state of the dairy sector, by producing forages and roughages.

With MSP, he hoped farmers would be exposed to ways to be proficient in managing the development of forages to reduce the cost of feed production and increase milk production and profit.

Rabe Mani, a consultant for the Food and Agriculture Organisation, indicated that the agricultural landscape heavily relies on both crop production and livestock keeping, which are vital for the livelihoods of so many Nigerians.

Mani maintained that Nigeria possesses a significant livestock resource base, including millions of cattle, goats, sheep, pigs, poultry, donkeys, and others and that fluctuating and rising prices, constitute 60-70 percent of livestock production costs, thus hindering industry growth.

He urged the stakeholders to utilise the MSP to implement a road map to achieve competitiveness in the production of animal feeds.

For him, the MSP has come at the right time when the cost of production of animal feed is increasing day by day, posing a threat to all actors.

According to him, it is high time to reduce the cost of production of animal feed to boost production and create immense opportunities.