The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Muhammad Sabo Nanono has stated that the National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme (NALBIP) is one of the comprehensive and sustainable mechanism put in place by the ministry to address the development and transformation of the livestock value chain in the agricultural sectorHe said the programme will improve the genetic makeup of the indigenous breeds of animals, especially dairy cattle to achieve increased milk and meat yield of the nation’s national herd.

He also expressed optimism that the programme “will improve the livelihood of the pastoral communities and other livestock farmers and support the ministry in addressing the challenges in the livestock value chain particularly, the incessant Herder/ Crop Farmers conflict”. Speaking during the flag-off exercise held at the Janguru Primary/ Secondary School, Dawanau, Dawakin Tofa Local Government Area, Kano State venue of the event, today, Monday, I5th March 2021, the Minister disclosed that the programme is targeted at the “evolution of hybrid filial generations of dairy cows and other livestock with improved productivity potential and in the overall genetic improvement to the national herd”.

He explained that the programme will facilitate Artificial insemination services through training and the provision of essential tools and inputs to stakeholders.Nanono expressed regret that despite the great potential in the livestock sector, “we have not achieved much to ensure an adequate supply of animal protein, means of livelihood and increased income. Some of the key challenges like low level of investment, poor animal health services, poor access to market, poor fodder supply and livestock Management practices have continued to prevent the sector from reaching its full potential”. The Minister noted that “ inadequate investments due largely to under-funding from public and private sectors, absence of enabling government policies, suboptimal functioning institutional settings and linkages and regulatory gaps have led to our inability to achieve sustainable transformation in the livestock value chains.

This administration is poised to systematically address these challenges”. According to him, the flag-off exercise was coming on board “at a better time due to threats poised on the nation’s security heightened by frequent conflicts, banditry, and cattle rustling with resultant depletion of the national herd, creating fear and loss of sources of livelihood for Nigerians who depend on agriculture for their sustenance” In his goodwill message, the Executive Governor of Kano State, represented by the Kano State Commissioner of Local Government Affairs, Hon Murtala Sule Garo, expressed appreciation on the choice of Kano State for the pilot scheme of the programme, stating that the state has the comparative advantage in terms of its livestock population and vast arable land.

While noting that the Breed improvement programme for the sector will upgrade the existing indigenous breeds and increase productivity, the governor assured the Minister that the state government will continue to support the federal government in all its intervention efforts to the state. In her welcome address earlier, the Director, Animal husbandary Department in the Ministry, Mrs Winnie Lai- Solarin stated that the Programme is part of the National Livestock Transformation Plan of the Federal Government of Nigeria. According to her, “Animal Agriculture plays a significant role in the country’s agro-economy and contributes to the qualitative nutrition of the citizenry, job creation and food security status of our nation.

It also lends significantly to the socio-economic livelihoods of the populace particularly livestock value chain actors”.She said the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Department of Animal Husbandry Services is commencing the National Livestock Breed Improvement Program (NALBIP) – a strategy designed to speedily upgrade our indigenous breeds oflivestock by enhancing their genetic potential, increasing their milk yield and their efficiency generally.

Mrs Solarin pointed out that, “Nigeria’s population is growing at a faster rate than the increase in animals and animal products, this is critical for a country whose population is expected to reach about 402 million by the year 2050. Imperatively only improved breeds which are adequately cared for to reach optimal production levels can alleviate poverty, ensure food security and meet the protein requirements of a growing population such as ours”.She, therefore, enjoined all stakeholders, particularly the private sector to participate actively in the implementation of the NALBIP program to ensure efficiency, sustainability, job creation, improved breed, increased productivity, and income of smallholder livestock farmers.