The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar has expressed optimism that developing a clear cut roadmap for the animal feed sub sector of the livestock value chain would provide direction for animal feed security in Nigeria. He noted that animal feed account for 70% of the cost of animal production, thereby making it the most important consideration in the livestock business

Delivering the keynote address during the First National Animal Feed Security Summit, held at International Conference Centre, Abuja, today, Thursday, 23rd September, 2021 with the theme: Developing a Roadmap for the Animal Feed Security in Nigeria, the Minister,  ably represented by the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr. Ernest Umakhihe said that ‘’ to transform the animal feed sector, Nigeria must embark on livestock feed production, industrialization, Feed Value Chain Development, Development of National Animal Feed and Feed Safety Policy, among others’’.

Dr. Mahmood Abubakar stated that the issue of animal feed and human food security was a a priority agenda. According to him, “the Ministry has been committed to the development of the nation’s feed industry by making budgetary provision for capacity building on Alternative Ingredients such as cassava peels and cocoa pod with supply of cottage feed-block mold in some states in the East and West of Nigeria based on comparative advantage’’.

The Minister further said that to support the livestock farmers alleviate the cost of feeds, the Ministry procured and distributed ruminant feed concentrates, salt licks, finished feeds to small-holder farmers across the country.

Dr. Abubakar added that the livestock sub- sector alone “engages over 5 million Nigerians directly or indirectly as technical or skilled personnel, distributors, fabricators of tools and machinery, input suppliers and generates massive employment across various value chains and strengthens the national social safety net with copious contributions to food security, household income and poverty reduction’’.

He commended President Muhammmadu Buhari for granting the approval for the release of 500Mt of maize from the Strategic Food Reserve to the Poultry Association of Nigeria for the Feed Industry to alleviate the suffering of the livestock farmers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In his welcomed address, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, represented by Director Special Duties in the Ministry, Mrs  Fausat  Lawal charged the participants  ‘’to focus on the agenda for the Ministry in charting a new course for Nigerian Animal Agriculture as a business in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration to leverage the Agricultural sector for wealth creation, employment generation and diversification of the economy and roadmap for Animal Feed Security in Nigeria with a view to proffering solution that will surmount the complex challenges stirred up by Covid-19 and global warming in the animal feed sector’’.

Dr. Umakhihe stated that the summit has come at the right time as the world is facing serious challenge of food and feed security as a result of Global warming and Covid-19 pandemic.

In her goodwill message, the Minister of State, Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Dr Ramat Tijjani Aliyu, represented by the Acting Secretary for Agriculture and Rural Development, Mallam Ishaq Sadeeq,  said the FCT administration has intensified the provision of necessary infrastructure in the four grazing reserves and has encouraged investors to embark on commercial production and conservation of pasture in the FCT.

In his address, the Chairman, Senate committee on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullai Adamu represented by Sen. Halliru Danda Jika, said that the stakeholders should look into small and large ruminant feeds in line with some state Government’s  policies of promoting ranching by enacting the anti grazing in their various states, adding that there is huge potentials in that area as some companies are already into production of pelleted grasses.

 Acting Director, Department of Animal Husbandary Services in the Ministry , Mrs. Winnie Lai-Solarin, thanked all the participants for their immerse contribution and various commitment towards the programme and assured the participants of the ministry’s readiness to cooperate with stakeholders, partners as well as investors in the sector to ensure that animal feed security was achieved in Nigeria.