The National Animal Production and Research Institute (NAPRI) and Earthwheel Logistics Limited have signed a 10-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to breed over 2 million donkeys in Nigeria in the next five to 10 years, which value chain is expected to generate about $2 billion annually for the country.
Earthwheel Logistics is a private company with multi-billion naira investments used in breeding, processing, marketing and the export of donkeys and donkey products located at Ufuma, Anambra State, and Bauchi and Jigawa States.
National Vice Chairman of Donkey Skin Processors, Marketers and Exporters Association of Nigeria, Ifeanyi Dike, signed the MoU on behalf of Earthwheel and the association, while the Director of NAPRI A. K Mohammed, a professor, signed on behalf of the institute, which is under the Ahmadu Bello University (ABU) Zaria.
Dike in a statement on Thursday said the MoU also involves growing grasses to feed the donkeys, which will revolutionise animal breeding in Nigeria and add value to the federal government’s diversification plans in the agriculture sector.
“The donkey value chain can generate about $2 billion annually for Nigeria,” Dike said, adding that the MoU also involves training and creating employment opportunities for the teeming population of Nigerians.
Chairman of Earthwheel Logistics, Destiny Izuchukwu Osili, in his remarks, lauded NAPRI for the collaboration, which he said is the first of its kind in Nigeria livestock farming. He also pleaded with the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to encourage the project.
According to Osili, the firm has established donkey ranches in Bauchi and Jigawa states since 2012, including the mini- ranch in Ufuma and the MoU will bring about a structured framework to breed donkeys to preserve the local stock and to tackle the menace of smuggling. He added that the target is also to make donkeys more available to the local market.
Osili declared that “this initiative is to produce more donkeys and use their derivatives for export in order to earn foreign exchange for Nigeria in line with the diversification agenda of the Federal Government in the agriculture sector”.