The livestock sub-sector is an important and integral component of Nigeria’s agriculture and is a major source of household wealth and food security. Transhumance pastoralism which involves extensive grazing and movement of animals within and between ecological zones and often over long distances primarily in search of fodder and water is the predominant livestock production system accounting for about 90% of Nigeria’s ruminant livestock population.

However, grazing resources hitherto available to pastoralists are fast disappearing due to climate change, increase in human population and urbanization. These factors constitute encroachment on areas reserved for livestock production including grazing reserves and stock routes and have decreased pastoral resources often resulting in frequent crop farmer-pastoralists conflicts, banditry and cattle rustling.

In order to accelerate the pace and scope of change in Nigeria’s livestock sub-sector by building a new ecosystem for livestock production and address the problems of farmers/herders clashes, the National Executive Council (NEC) in 2019 approved the NLTP as a comprehensive national strategy for transforming the Nigerian livestock sub-sector to provide the framework to sedenterize the transhumance-pastoralist, meet the animal protein needs of the teaming populace, provide jobs and reduce the massive importation of animal based foods into Nigeria. Accordingly, the Department of Animal Husbandry Services (DAHS) has commenced implementation of NLTP with programmes and projects for sustainable investment by the private sector. To achieve this desired socio economic growth within the livestock sub-sector and bring efforts of the Federal Government over the years in implementing programmes to curtail violent conflicts between farmers and herders for increased productivity to the doorstep of Nigerians, ACAN in collaboration with the DAHS organized the summit on NLTP with the theme: Positioning the Nigerian Livestock Industry for the 21st Century Economy: A Critical Look at the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP). The summit was co funded by FMARD and Sahel Consulting Agriculture and Nutrition Limited.

Participants at the summit were drawn from the Federal and State Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Research and Academic Institutions, Professional Bodies, Private and International Organizations including Industry Practitioners, Print and Electronic Media and Policy Makers.

Welcome Address was delivered by the Chairman, ACAN, Mr. Oba Olasunkanmi John, who explained that the essence of ACAN’s collaboration with FMARD was to x-ray the livestock sub – sector as a major pillar of the global food system and a major contributor to poverty reduction, food security, agricultural development and dispel misconceptions held by Nigerians on the real intentions of Government in setting up the NLTP.

Goodwill Messages

Goodwill messages were delivered by the FAO Country Representative, Fred Kafeero, Honourable Commissioner of Agriculture Plateau State, Dr. Hosea Finangwai, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Country Representative, Dr. Audu Grema, President of Nigeria Agribusiness Group, Professor E. Ijiwere, and the President of Commercial Dairy Ranchers Association of Nigeria (CODARAN), Alhaji M.D. Abubakar.

The Director, Department of Animal Husbandry Services (DAHS), Mrs. Winnie Lai – Solarin, in her power point presentation stated that all interventions and activities of DAHS were tailored towards actualizing NLTP. She listed; National Livestock Breed Improvement Programme (NALBIP) which was flagged-off in Kano and being implemented in Kano, Niger, Oyo, Taraba and Bauchi States; The National Dairy Development Programme (NDDP) in fourteen (15) states; The National Strategic Animal Feed Programme (NSAFP) designed to mop alternative feed resource for animal feed; The National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP) piloted in Gombe State and currently being implemented in Borno State as well as other programmes being carried out in partnership with the private sector as part of implementation strategies of NLTP. She concluded that FMARD also collaborated with Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to pilot NAPDEP and ranch establishment in Niger and Kaduna States.

Opening Remarks by Honourable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development

The Honourable Minister of Agriculture & Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar, said the  summit came at the right time when Nigeria just came out of the Covid-19 pandemic that added to established problems of low breed quality, poor animal husbandry practices, limited access to quality inputs and finance, weak animal health and extension service delivery, livestock herder and crop farmer conflicts, cattle rustling, banditry and other security challenges facing Nigeria’s livestock industry.

He mentioned the various programmes and projects of the Ministry that are geared towards successful implementation of the NLTP. He concluded that the Ministry is awaiting the outcomes of the summit and looking forward to positive recommendations that will create synergy among the stakeholders to pave the way for a successful and speedy transformation of the Livestock sub-sector.

He thereafter declared the summit open.