Story from Kenneth AFOR, Lagos
Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has appealed to the Federal Government of Nigeria to establish a livestock ministry in other for the country to effectively harness the full potentials of the commodity in the sub-sector of the economy.
The appeal was made by the association’s national secretary, Alhaji Othman Ngelzarma in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja.
With the creation of the ministry, it will help address the myriads of challenges bedevilling the livestock industry which has already addressed similar issues in other regional countries in West Africa.
He stressed that a single department catering for livestock in the country’s Ministry of Agriculture may not fully address the challenges facing livestock production adding that Nigeria stands to gain a lot in the sector if a separate entity is created.
According to him, over the years, cattle breeders in the country have faced numerous challenges which have stunted the growth and development of livestock production.
Ngelzarma alluded cattle rustling, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping, banditry and neglect, especially with regard to demarcation of grazing reserves have in many ways contributed to the laxity of livestock production in the country.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to create a ministry that will squarely address all issues relating to the livestock sub-sector of the economy.
“This is because the magnitude of the problem or crisis faced by the livestock sector is more than the one that can be handled by a mere department under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“Some of the enormous problems are farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, neglect on the part of the government regarding grazing reserve, banditry, kidnapping, shrinking of Lake Chad that is housing millions of pastoralists and so many other natural and man-made factors.
“We want an agency or ministry that can squarely handle this issue and resolve it permanently being the practice in most West African countries; they all have Federal Ministry of Livestock because of the essence they attach to livestock production.
“It is essential for the government to consider the creation of the Ministry of Livestock independent from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
“Let’s have a livestock ministry so that this entire problem can be addressed by an organisation solely charged with such responsibility,” Ngelzarma stressed.
Ngelzarma projected that livestock production could be a major income earner for the country taking a cue from the oil and gas sector if proper attention is channelled into it.
He hinted that pastoralists are not yielding the maximum profits as they ought to.
“If it can be developed in a better way considering the value chain related to the sector it will create a lot of employment, bring a lot of wealth to the country and to individuals”.
“But if a particular ministry can be established and assigned to handle squarely any problem relating to livestock, it gets the deserved attention it requires,” he said.