• Monday, July 15, 2024
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Innovation gaps in livestock production create investment opportunities

Innovation gaps in livestock production create investment opportunities

The huge innovation gap in Nigeria’s agricultural sector which has continued to hurt livestock development creates investment opportunity for entrepreneurs.

Experts say entrepreneurs can tap into the vast opportunities in livestock production if they can provide technological and innovative solutions to address problems limiting the development of the subsector.

Nigeria’s livestock sector is a key part of the country’s quest for food security and in ensuring an end to the prolonged conflicts between farmers-herders.

Aliyu Abdulhameed, managing director and CEO, NIRSAL during the Ecobank Agribusiness summit maintained that central to accelerating agricultural growth is improving the productivity of the small-scale farmers above subsistence level.

Across the value chain, he observed that farmers face risks from production to market. Beset by frequent drought, unpredictable rainfall, degraded soils, pests, disease, and conflicts, he said farmers struggle to produce a steady supply of crops and livestock for consumption and sale.

Such risks, according to Abdulhameed, remain too great for investors, who struggle to unlock financing to support agribusinesses.

To offset these risks, he identified remedies such as the use of technologies for water harvesting and irrigation, changing harvesting times, use of cover crops and regular soil checks among others.

Nigeria had in 2019, announced N97 a 10 year National Livestock Development plan which commenced in 2018 through to 2027.

“Lack of innovation is the reason why we cannot track our animals. We should turn the animal tracks to an industry,” said Tope Damola, chairman, Shonga Farms at a panel session during the Agra Innovate Summit in Lagos.

“Data on investment is not exactly known. Deaths, births, losses to thefts, diseases distribution patterns and feeding sustainably rely on guesswork,” Demola said.

This is an opportunity that investors can tap into by providing data-driven by technology for the livestock subsector.

Damola stressed that the renewed call for a return to agriculture by Nigerians should not mean a descent to primitive agriculture that is not technology-driven.

According to him, an example of primitive agriculture is the movement of cattle and sheep through bushes, a practice that destroys crop farms and creates conflicts between herdsmen and farmers.

The attacks by rampaging herdsmen on farmlands have been tipped to stoke a food crisis in Africa’s most populous nation, if not addressed, experts say.

The continuous onslaught by herdsmen has led to the destruction of agro raw materials and drop in output of major crops such as cassava, grains, oranges, mangoes and other commodities that serve as food and inputs for manufacturers in the food and beverage industry.

Experts say innovation and technology-driven agriculture should be for improved productivity through a more accessible veterinary service, better nutrition and modern husbandry for the country’s livestock industry.

The livestock sector recorded its lowest year on year growth of 0.16percent since 2016, while quarterly, the subsector contracted by 0.2percent in the fourth quarter from 0.02 percent in the third quarter of 2019.

Experts attribute the constant yearly decline to the high rate of insecurity and the continued farmers- herders clash.