Agribusiness: Massive Livestock Feed Production will transform Animal Feed Sector – FG

Kenny Folarin, Abuja

The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Muahammed Mahmood Abubakar, Thursday, said that for Nigeria to champion agribusiness worldwide and transform the animal feed sector, the nation must embark on livestock feed production.

Delivering his keynote address at the 1st National Animal Feed Summit with the theme: “Developing a Road Map for Animal Feed Security,” in Abuja, Abubakar stated that Nigeria must embark on livestock, industrialization, feed value chain development to transform agribusiness.

He also opined that development of national animal feed and feed safety policy, establishment of national strategic feed and feed ingredient reserve centre, national alternative feed ingredient development, promotion and commercialization of ruminant and micro-livestock feeds, will create platforms to transform animal feed sector.

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Abubakar who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry Of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, highlighted that animal feed accounts for over 70 percent of the cost of animal production, adding that it engages over five million Nigerians directly and indirectly as technical or skilled personnel, distributors, fabricators of tools and machinery, input suppliers.

According to him, investments in livestock feed production generates massive employment across various value chains and strengthens the national social safety net with copious contributions to food security, household income and poverty reduction.

He said: “According to 2016 data, Nigeria feed industry produces an average of 5.5million metric tonnes of animal feed per annum comprising 85% poultry feeds, and with commercial ruminant and swine feed coming up in the industry, it will produce not less than 50 million metric tonnes per annum.

“Even with this, feed sector has the potential to engage over 20 million Nigerians, as the industry is yet to reach 25% of its market size.”
He further noted that from the year 1957, Nigeria had only two feed mills, saying that the country now has over 1,000 feed mills and is recognized as the 40th leading country in livestock feed production in the world.

“This potential notwithstanding, the industry expansion remains tilted to the South West which accounts for not less than 75 percent of total installed and operating feed mills in Nigeria.

“The importance of nutritious animal feeds for full development and productivity of animals cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria’s animal feed sector is faced with non readily available feed resources, largely due to high cost of production, which in turn makes feed almost unaffordable by an average farmer,” he stressed.

To this end, Abubakar lamented the impact of COVID 19 pandemic, stating that it has negatively affected many sectors particularly the livestock sub-sector, through reduced availability of animal feed ingredients, labour, processing facilities, inputs and services.

“The pandemic reduced access of animal feed to markets and consumers. This is why the National Animal Feed Summit, a platform to engage key players and major stakeholders in the feed industry to develop a roadmap for animal feed security in the country at a time like this is apt,” he added.

Speaking in the same vein, Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Ernest Umakhihe, said for the nation to recover fully from the coronavirus pandemic, government must be ready to embrace livestock feed production.
Umakhihe, who was represented by the Director Special Duties, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Fausat Lawal said

“As you are all aware, there is the dictum of ‘we are what we eat’. Nutritious animal feeds are essential for development and productivity of animals, especially food animals.

“In Nigeria, the animal feed sector remains a challenge to animal husbandry practices, largely due to high cost of animal feeds, which are not readily available and where they are, they are not easily affordable by an average farmer.”

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