The growth and development of the livestock sector and related value chains in Nigeria has been described as the fulcrum for national development, as well as catalyst for the advancement of the livestock sector in the entire sub-Saharan region.
Veteran journalist, policy analyst and veterinarian, Dr Olukayode Oyeleye made this assertion at the just concluded AGRA INNOVATE WEST AFRICA SUMMIT AND EXPO which held at Landmark Centre, Lagos, from 25th-26th November, 2019. Speaking at the panel discussion moderated by the event convener, Folusho Olaniyan on the topic, ‘’Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs): Economic Implications and Best Management Practices To Secure Animal Population in the Sub-Saharan Region’’, Dr Oyeleye posited that Nigeria has a relevant role to play, as it possesses the human resources, technological edge and market to fast track and influence the pace of trade and development of the livestock industry in West Africa, noting the lack of implementation of relevant policies such as the surveillance of transborder animal movements, enforcing sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards (SPS), as well as ignoring global best practices as the bane of the industry. He recommended that groups such as the Poultry Association of Nigeria, PigFarmers Association of Nigeria, and other such groups should resist the temptation of being appendages of politicians or political parties, which further stifles the growth of the sector in Nigeria, nay, West Africa.
On his part, the co-panelist, Professor Enene Ejembi, of the Department of Agricultural Extension, University of Agriculture, Makurdi, and senior representative Verbatim Virtual Solutions, described transboundary animal diseases (TADs) as a scourge threatening public health and causing socio-economic losses to the sector and livelihoods, due to low retail prices of the diseased livestock, impaired reproductive efficiency of such animals, high mortality, low nutritional value of the meat and milk products, reduced value of the by-products (hides, skins, bones), as well as famine, partly due to reduced soil fertility, since faecal matter are widely used as fertilizers in crop production. He stressed that for sustainable livestock systems, there must be enhanced extension services, improved government intervention, legislation and support, equipping of relevant agencies for surveillance of animal movements, as well as trans-national collaborative efforts to discourage transhumant.
The Agra Innovate West Africa Summit & Expo is an annual converge of agro industry players, experts, exhibitors and enthusiasts drawn from countries within West Africa and beyond. This year’s event featured panel discussions, seminars and exhibitions by organizations, food processors, livestock , seedling and machinery companies, such as USAID West Africa Trade & Investment Hub, Aller Aqua, Dizengoff, Saro Agrosciences Ltd, EW Nutrition, German Cooperation in conjunction with FMARD and GIZ, Whitfield Ventures Ltd, Pan African Equipment, Deerpark Pedigree Pigs, British Pig Association, Interplast, and a host of others. However it was observed that no indigenous livestock company was represented at the expo. LIVESTONEWS.