The Permanent Secretary , Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), Dr. Ernest Umakhihe has said that the ministry will strategized with stakeholders in the livestock sub sector to ensure availability and accessibility of healthy animal protein for Nigerians as well as export products.

The Permanent Secretary disclosed this at the 4th regular meeting of the National Animal Husbandry Development Committee and Stakeholders’ meeting on Validation of Draft National Animal Breeding Policy held at the Agricultural and Rural Management Training Institute, Guest House Gudu, Abuja on Wednesday 11th May, 2022.

The Permanent Secretary represented by the Director Animal Husbandry Services, Mrs. Winnie Lai – Solarin stated that ‘’ the aim is to significantly reduce livestock and livestock products imports, ensure availability and accessibility of healthy animal protein as well as stimulate exports to earn the much needed foreign exchange’.

Dr. Umakhihe added that ‘’the private sector will remain in the lead while government provides the enabling environment through policies, supporting infrastructure, systems, control processes and oversight’’.

He charged the stakeholders in the three tiers of government to ‘’speed up transformation and reposition of agriculture to meet contemporary aspirations of wholesomeness and commercialization for increased farmers output, national income and wellbeing of the people’’.

The Permanent Secretary noted that “the meeting has come at a very crucial time when the national economic development is witnessing a drastic shift to agriculture for sustainable economic diversification drive of the present administration.

He stated that ‘’ Livestock production is a popular and significant source of commodities of choice to achieve food sufficiency, nutrition security, poverty reduction, employment generation, wealth creation and acquisition of other basic skills at both national and state government levels’’.

Dr. Umakhihe informed that “the contribution of the livestock subsector to the National Agriculture Gross Domestic Product which is in the range of 2.5 percent, has necessitated the ministry to create the Department of Animal Husbandry Services (DAHS) from the defunct Department of Livestock and Pest Control Services, with the overall mandate to coordinate livestock policies, programmes, interventions and development of the livestock value chain”.

The Permanent Secretary pointed out that ‘’to demonstrate Federal Government ‘s commitment towards improving livestock production on a sustainable basis, the ministry requested and secured approval of the World Bank for funding of a special livestock project, the Livestock Productivity and Resilience Support Project (L-PRES) under the DAHS. There is also the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) that is targeting huge private sector investment in livestock value chains’’.

He lauded all actors along the livestock value chains for their resilient efforts amidst multifaceted challenges of absence of enabling livestock policy environment, inadequate resources, investment and institutional weaknesses that have encumbered growth in the animal production, processing and marketing in the country.

In her welcome remarks, the Director, Animal Husbandry Services Department, Mrs. Winnie Lai –Solarin, represented by Assistant Director, Mrs Christy Goodluck Onyegbule, said that “the National Animal Husbandry Development Committee functions as a policy making organ in the livestock sub-sector and advises the National Council of Agriculture and Rural Development (NCRD) on all matters relating to husbandry aspects of the sub-sector. She added that the committee had generated relevant memoranda that can be discussed at the NCRD regular meeting to give policy direction for national livestock development.

She revealed that the Department had carried out so many activities, programmes and interventions for livestock farmers across the 36 state and the FCT as approved in the annual budget and special interventions to specific States across the country.

In his goodwill message, the National President, Animal Science Association of Nigeria, Mr. Raymond Nyangason thanked the ministry for its efforts in bringing all stakeholders together to find a way in addressing the challenges in the livestock sub sector.

Mohammed Abdullahi Gana
Information Officer II
For: Director Information