• Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Lagos seeks to bridge beef supply gap

Scarcity of beef hits Edo market

The Lagos State Government has said it is currently developing strategic plans to bridge the annual consumption deficit in cattle herds which currently stands at 1.4 million as part of measures to boost food security and also enhance the supply of wholesome beef in the state.

Olatokunbo Emokpae, permanent secretary of the State’s Ministry of Agriculture, said this at the inception workshop of the Technical Cooperation Facility Project Feasibility and Value Chain Analysis of the Red Meat Value Chain, particularly the Cattle Feedlot Estate in Lagos, organised by the state government in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Emokpae in a statement said the workshop is aimed at exposing investors to the investment opportunities available in the Feedlot Estate Project which span cattle production, processing, logistics, beef marketing, and distribution, among others.

She added that the workshop is also targeted at identifying the project capacity needs, evaluating environmental issues that could arise during its implementation, and proffering solutions to mitigate them.

“Lagos with a human population of over 24 million, currently requires a total of 1.4 million head of cattle valued at over N490 billion annually while local production from existing feedlots in the state is presently 12,000 head of cattle.

“This leaves a gap of over 1,380,000 head of cattle which is sourced from other states of the federation and neighboring countries. It is, therefore, clear that a viable investment niche exists in this lucrative value chain, which accounts for about five percent of the state GDP,” Emokpae said.

She explained that given the inherent economic potential of cattle production, and the need to enhance the supply of wholesome beef in Lagos.

He added that by extension contributing to the attainment of the state’s food security agenda, the administration of the Babajide Sanwo-Olu commenced work on the establishment of a cattle feedlot project for which a 750Ha parcel of land was acquired at Igbodu, Epe.

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According to her, a total of 250Ha has been cleared and parceled into lots of 5Ha each for allocation to investors.

She stated that the feedlot project will also facilitate beef traceability among many other health benefits for Lagosians, generate income for investors, create jobs, and stimulate economic activities within the project community.

While calling on other development partners and investors to join the state in actualizing the dream of making the state food-secured, Emokpae said aside from the feedlot project, opportunities also exist in other areas of the red meat value chain of which investors can take advantage and make good returns on investment.

These, according to her, include the establishment of 18 semi-mechanized and eight mechanized abattoirs established in various locations across the state.

“Others are the establishment of meat hubs and model meat shops to improve current levels of meat hygiene, guaranteeing food safety, and raising consumer confidence; Transportation and Logistics of live animals and carcasses to satellite abattoirs and markets respectively through specialized and licensed delivery systems.

“The export potential of the red meat value chain is also quite viable. Tripe, cattle horn, hides, and others are exported to countries in Europe and Asia for value addition.

“For example, cattle horns are very valuable for making high-value cups, saltshakers, cutlery, key holders, necklaces, and many other products which constitute part of a multi-billion-dollar industry on the international market.

“In this direction, the State Government is blazing the trail through the establishment of the Lagos State By-Product Processing Centre at Oko- Oba Agege. This centre, which is the first of its kind in the country, is almost at the completion stage,” Emokpae said.

Fred Kafeero, representative of FAO Nigeria who was represented by Adeola Akinrinlola, commended the state government for demonstrating high commitment to developing the livestock sector through the establishment of the cattle feedlot farm.

He expressed the readiness of his organisation to provide a timely, efficient, and cost-effective range of managerial and technical advisory services to ensure the success of the initiative.

Earlier, in his welcome address, Rasheed Macaulay, director of veterinary services at the state’s agric ministry said the importance of feedlot to the development of a state cannot be over-emphasized as it helps to increase the efficiency of the beef and dairy industry.

He said the project was intended to relieve the economic challenge of the unpredictable cost of cattle that is being dictated by the cattle merchants operating in the state, while also helping to forestall outbreaks of cattle disease and the possibility of zoonosis, an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans or from humans to animals.