The first national congress of the Pig Farmers Association of Nigeria was held at the Public Service Institute Abuja on 10th and 11th May 2021. The 2 day congress with the theme; Pig Value Chain: Opportunities and Challenges, attracted pig farmers and other pig value chain operators from most states of the federation. In a welcome address, the president of the association, Professor A.O.K. Adesehinwa stated that the pig industry which has been neglected for a very long time has now been added to the national livestock value chain by the federal government, which means the federal government is now set to support the industry to thrive. Professor Adesehinwa called on all pig farmers to remain united so they can together improve the industry.
Declaring the congress open, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, who was represented by the head of animal husbandry services of the ministry, Mrs. Winnie Lai-Solarin stated that the congress has come at a time when the vision of the federal government is on producing and providing sufficient and quality food to the citizens at affordable cost thereby reducing food importation.
“The basic idea is to significantly reduce livestock and livestock products inputs such as pigs and pig products and at the same time stimulate exports to earn the needed foreign exchange”
The Permanent secretary reiterated government’s resolve to continue to provide the enabling environment through policies as well as supporting infrastructure and control processes in order to speed up transformation and repositioning of the pig value chain to meet contemporary aspirations of wholesomeness and commercialization for increased farmer output and national income as well as wellbeing of the nation. Mrs. Lai-Solarin who is also the project coordinator, national livestock productivity and resilient support programme of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development further commended pig farmers for the increasing activity in the pig industry and charged delegates at the congress to deliberate and bring up memoranda that would address how to develop and scale up efforts to ensure accelerated progress towards increasing availability and access to wholesome animal protein from pigs and other economic pig products for domestic consumption and export
In a keynote address at the event, the Registrar of Nigeria Institute of Animal Science, Professor Eustace Iyayi decried the current low production of pigs in Nigeria, which in 1943 had the biggest pig farm in the world. But today pigs represent only 4% of the total Nigerian livestock production. China, United States and other countries has since surpassed Nigeria and are reaping a lot from their huge pig industry.
“The value of trade in pig products runs into billions of dollars every year and Africa enjoys less than 5% of this action. This low production in Nigeria can be attributed to loss of interest by investors as a result of inconsistent polices and disease outbreaks as it has been the case with African swine fever on yearly basis”
Professor Iyayi called on all players in the pig value chain to take advantage of the gap created by government policy on reduction of importation which is to encourage home grown products and scale up their production and processing activities in order to create wealth, generate employment and abate hunger.
While delivering a lecture titled; Key challenges facing the pig sector in Nigeria, the head, Department of Animal Science of the University of Abuja, Dr Rufus Oluwafemi stated that the ever growing Nigerian population which is estimated to rise by 43% in 2030 requires that food production needs to be scaled up to feed the people. He described the pig value chain as a goldmine which has remained untapped due to an array of constraints that are hinged on poor livestock development policies. He called on government to strengthen the weak relevant institutions that are linked directly to the livestock sector so they can create an enabling environment that will enable players on the value chain surmount the key challenges and reap the full benefits of pig production and processing.
In a goodwill message, the president of Animal Science Association of Nigeria Chief Obiajulu Raymond Isiadinso called on all pig farmers to imbibe modern farming practices that will ensure good returns on their investments as this is the only way the business will grow to a level that there will be sufficient pigs and pig products for domestic use and export. Chief Isiadinso who is also the president, Feed Industry Practitioners Association of Nigeria and Chief Executive Officer of Mid-Century Agro Allied Ventures Limited admonished farmers to pay good attention to feeds and feeding as this constitutes about 70% of their investment.
“Apart from genetic make-up of the pig, proper and quality feeding is what determines output in a pig production investment. Pig farmers must pay adequate attention to this by accessing quality feeds for their pigs”
Some livestock inputs supply companies such as Feed Avenue limited, and the Big Dutchman and financial lending institutions such as Sterling Bank that has special packages for investors in the agricultural sector were on ground and took turns to enlighten the farmers and investors in the pig value chain about some of their products.
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The Pig Farmers Association of Nigeria was inaugurated on 21st November 2018 at a stakeholders meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in Abuja and has since then, being functioning and coordinating activities in the various states and is coming together for the first time as an association in a national congress. LIVESTONEWS.
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