The Director Animal Husbandry Services, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs Winnie Tai Solarin has said that the government has commenced the implementation of the National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) in some states that have declared interest.
She explained that the NLTP is a federal government initiative to transform the livestock industry.
She said the interventions that were proffered in NLTP which came out of the National conference on the Transformation of the Nigerian Livestock Industry in September 2017 talked about pasture and fodder production which is a program that we have not paid attention to, we have been doing it, but we did not see it as a programme.
She, however said the ministry has National Pasture Development program, “targeted towards transforming the livestock industry because if capacities are built on pasture development, improved pasture seeds are provided within enabling environment, it is easier for the pastoralist to grow his own pasture, and for pasture development to become a business”, she stated.
Mrs Solarin said in the NLTP, there is the National Livestock Breed Improvement Program; “the program is to initially target dairy cows, the point is that the yield of our cow for diary is so low and once we can improve the breed, it becomes very difficult for you to move them around because you are looking at the increased milk they will give you”, she said.
She said tied with this breed improvement is provision of milk collection centres, so the breed improvement is tied to another program call National Dairy Development Program where the government is collaborating with a lot of private investors in the dairy industry.
She said the National Dairy Development Program is being implemented in Kano, Oyo and Niger State, and this year, there are also plans to expand to other states.
“Then there is the issue of infrastructure and support services where we meet the pastoralists within their settlement areas, and the whole idea is that most times they (pastoralists) move out of these settlements in search of pasture and amenities, the federal government is providing the amenities in their settlements.
“We just concluded our needs assessment and we are about to commence provision of infrastructure and support services for these settlements”, the Director added.
She said along with infrastructure and support services, is the development and rehabilitation of the grazing reserve which is currently being implemented in Gombe in collaboration with the Borno state government also being done in Borno.
“We are not stopping there, there are states that have also gotten funding from the federal government to also develop part of their grazing reserve and turn some into ranching”, she said.
She said another program in the NLTP is the Livestock Intervention Program which is geared towards providing infrastructure and support services for livestock farmers within settlements, clusters.
“All they (livestock Farmers) require from government is capacity building and provision of some infrastructure for their use so that the movement of animals is reduced, so that is basically what livestock intervention program is.
“We have Adamawa, Kwara, Niger, Bauchi, Kaduna and Gombe state are participating”, she noted.
She said there is another program geared towards transformation of the livestock industry called the livestock productivity and resilience support project which is a World Bank supported project, which looks at the value chain seriously.
Solarin said the program will look at institutional strengthening, look at conflicts and how to mitigate it, and also involve the private sector. “The project is already in the budget of the Ministry, so there is funding already mapped out for the project”, she said.
Speaking on states’ participation in the NLTP, she said “all states in the country expressed interest in the Livestock Intervention Program, we wrote letters to states and visited them, and they expressed interest in the program.
“But it goes beyond just expressing interest, after that, we also requested for some information and data to help us and we followed up with needs assessment and that’s where we have come up with these six states that we are commencing with while the other states will come on-board as we go on”.
She said the peak where the NLTP is heading is to popularize the Semi Intensive Livestock Production System where there are ranches.