THE Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has urged the Federal Government to emulate other nations in West Africa by establishing a livestock ministry to harness the full potentials of the sub-sector of the nation’s economy.
Othman Ngelzarma, National Secretary of MACBAN, who made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja, said the action will also help to confront and solve some of the sector’s challenges.
He stressed that a mere department under the Ministry of Agriculture will not be able to address the challenges and allow Nigeria to benefit fully from the endowments of the livestock sector.
According to him, some of the challenges confronting the sector include, cattle rustling, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping, banditry and neglect, especially with regard to demarcation of grazing reserves.
Ngelzarma who noted that livestock sector can be next to petroleum in terms of revenue generation if fully maximized, lamented that pastoralists who are the producers of livestock are gaining little or nothing from it.
“We are calling on the Federal Government to create a ministry that will squarely address all issues relating to the livestock sub-sector of the economy,” he said.
“This is because the magnitude of the problem or crisis faced by the livestock sector is more than the one that can be handled by a mere department under the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.”
“Some of the enormous problems are farmer-herder conflicts, cattle rustling, neglect on the part of the government regarding grazing reserve, banditry, kidnapping, shrinking of Lake Chad that is housing millions of pastoralists and so many other natural and man-made factors,” he added.
He said the association wanted an agency or ministry that can squarely handle the issue and resolve it permanently being the practice in most West African countries.
“They all have Federal Ministry of Livestock because of the essence they attach to livestock production,” Ngelzarma said.
“It is essential for the government to consider the creation of the Ministry of Livestock independent from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture.”
“Let’s have a livestock ministry so that this entire problem can be addressed by an organisation solely charged with such responsibility,” he added.
“If it can be developed in a better way considering the value chain related to the sector it will create a lot of employment, bring a lot of wealth to the country and to individuals.
“But if a particular ministry can be established and assigned to handle squarely any problem relating to livestock, it gets the deserved attention it requires,” he said.
The Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report on the second quarter of 2020 shows that livestock contribution to the GDP grew by 2.26 percent from 0.63 percent in the first quarter of 2020 and -0.01 percent in the second quarter of 2019.