The Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) has urged the federal government of Nigeria to create a Ministry of livestock.
The National Secretary of MACBAN, Alhaji Othman Ngelzarma who made the call on Thursday in Abuja, argued that this will help curb some of the challenges affecting the sector.
Ngelzarma who spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), noted that just a department under the Ministry of Agriculture may not be able to attend to all the demands and challenges of the livestock sector in Nigeria.
He also argued that many other West African countries have set up a distinct ministry to oversee the affairs of the livestock sub-sector and Nigeria should also do the same.
According to him:-
“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.
“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.
“We want an agency or ministry that can squarely handle this 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.
“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 organization solely charged with such responsibility.”
He listed some of the challenges in livestock development to include; cattle rustling, farmer-herder conflicts, kidnapping, banditry, and neglect. He argued that if adequately harnessed, the livestock sector has the potentials to generate income and foreign exchange equal to what crude oil and petroleum are generating for Nigeria.
He, however, submitted that for this happen, government needs to establish a ministry of livestock to cater for the sector solely.
“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.”