Stakeholders optimistic of livestock development via innovative technologies
Some stakeholders at the Nigeria Poultry and Livestock Expo 2017 (NIPOLI) on Thursday in Lagos said they were optimistic that the livestock industry would be developed if innovative methodologies were employed.
Dr Gideon Mshebwala, Director, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that majority of farmers operated in traditional structures.
Mshebwala, who was represented by Dr Dupe Ambolu, an Assistant Director in the ministry, said that farming systems were mostly characterised by obsolete barn equipment.
“Poultry and livestock represent an important source of high quality animal protein; it is one of the highest investments in agriculture with a net worth of N250 billion.
“Poultry contributes about 10 per cent, while livestock contributes about five per cent of Nigeria’s agricultural Gross Domestic Products (GDP) and Nigeria’s chicken population of about 150.7 million.
“Of this, 25 per cent, 15 per cent and 60 per cent are farmed commercially, semi-commercially and in backyards respectively. However, the demand for protein and by-products outstrips the supply.
“Majority of farmers operate in traditional and small scale structures characterised by obsolete barn equipment, production techniques and inadequate bio-security,’’ Mshebwala said.
According to him, producers of livestock products suffer from a weak feed industry and poor market access as a result of inadequate infrastructure.
He said: “Indeed, for Nigeria to achieve its vision of breaking into the top 20 developed economies by 2020, there is the implicit need for a viable Nigerian Agriculture, especially poultry and livestock sub-sector.
“This is to make a paradigm shift from traditional production system to an intensively managed and technology-driven commercial livestock production’’.
The National President of Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Dr Ayoola Oduntan, said the economy was changing in the last two years and that agriculture was capable of redeeming the situation.
Oduntan, represented by Mr Olabode Adetoyi, said that from the international exhibitors present, the equipment on display would further develop the sector if poultry farmers would key in.
“As you can see, without technology you cannot improve in the poultry system, the association has embraced technology in terms of feeds and cages.
“Through recent technology now, some machines will pack the droppings; some will select the eggs and separate them into sizes and in term of housing to get broiler at 32 daily.
“We are glad to say that technology has improved poultry production in Nigeria up to 98 per cent,’’ Oduntan said.
Mr Segun Dasa-Olu, National President of Cattle Breeders and Dealers Association of Nigeria, said that farmers needed to strategise and put their acts together to promote modern technologies.
Dasia-Olu said: “Farmers should take advantage and adopt the new technologies exhibited here so that productivity and quality can increase.
“To show that cattle breeders are serious about modern technology, we are preaching zero grazing, which is possible.
“Grazing at any place usually reduces the quality of the meat we eat, that is why we hope to improve in technology,’’ he said.
Mrs Edobong Akpabio, 2nd Vice-President of NECA’s Network of Entrepreneurial Women (NNEW), said that opportunities abound in the agricultural value chain and that the livestock industry provided comparative advantage.
Akpabio said: “In every geographical zone in Nigeria, livestock and poultry industry provides comparative advantage and NNEW supports the goal of the conveners of this event.
“This is because it is to deliberate on areas that border on the latest trends in poultry and livestock technology and promote business interactions.
“We will continue to make valuable contributions to the growth and development of the agribusiness industry in Nigeria,’’ she said.
NAN reports that exhibitors at the event included feed manufacturers, veterinary products, animal bio-security, nutrition, animal farming and incubation equipment, and animal breeding technology.