By: Oluwatosin Iyun
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Alhaji Sabo Nanono, on Thursday says Nigeria’s livestock industry forms 18 per cent of the sector’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Nanono made the assertion while inaugurating the 5th Council of the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science (NIAS) in Abuja.
According to him, the incessant herdsmen and farmers crisis has continued to hamper the development of the livestock industry.
He stressed the importance of cattle which is part of livestock development of any country because of its size, value and mobility.
In his words, he said there is need for the nation to:” quickly transit from conflict era to becoming a net exporter of premium beef, emulating and surpassing the enviable achievements of countries like Uruguay which has metamorphosed over the recent years into a leading exporter of premium beef to the EU, US and the Chinese markets.
“It took Uruguay years of branding, food safety and quality reforms as well as investment to get to that enviable market leadership. It will take nothing less.
“I think we have allowed ourselves to be delayed by emotions and sentiments in this very important industry. This is an industry that forms 18 per cent of the GDP of the agricultural sector and worth over N33 trillion, no county on earth will play with such industry.”
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To this end, he urged the institute to play a lead role in proffering solutions to the lingering conflicts between herders and farmers in Nigeria.
“I strongly call on the Institute to come up with scientific and practicable models that the government can adopt to finally lay to rest this front-burning problem.
Earlier, NIAS President, Professor Baba Yusuf Abubakar, said the institute has a collection of the requisite technical expertise in all disciplines of animal husbandry to effectively facilitate the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP).