The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Nigerian Government have commenced the implementation of the pilot National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP), an initiative of the Nigerian Government, in Kaduna and Niger States.
The National Livestock Transformation Plan (NLTP) was birthed to address the array of issues that have stifled the growth and modernisation of the Livestock industry in Nigeria.
FAO through a Technical Cooperation Project (TCP) is demonstrating/piloting the NLTP and its attendant benefits to households. The outcome of the project targets to increase Household incomes through improved livestock productivity, strategic marketing and sustainable value chains.
An integral part of the project is the establishment of two modern ranches one in each of the two states to demonstrate best practices in livestock management through the establishment of modern ranches with infrastructures such as fencing, solar-powered boreholes, drip irrigation, accommodation for extension workers, training shed, hay barn, crush and pasture development.
The project which is funded by FAO to the tune of $491,000 has 100 participants including men and women who were selected in the two states through the conduct of a baseline survey.
The National Consultant to the Project, Jazuli Bichi while briefing journalists in Kaduna State, said recent climate change and climate variability had severely affected the traditional grazing lands that were never re-seeded with good quality forage materials leading to an increase on the trans-human movement of animals.
He said to address the issues confronting the livestock sector, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development requested the FAO to provide technical assistance for the implementation of the NLTP in some selected pilot states.
Bichi said in view of this, Kaduna and Niger State were selected for the Intervention Livestock Model that was designed to follow an evolutionary process of livestock development that is highly dependent on cultural practices, agro-ecology, land availability, supporting infrastructures and resources such as water and feed sources.
He said the objective of the project is to ensure food and nutrition security of livelihood and safeguard livelihood, while livelihood income will improve through improved livestock productivity and increased market potentials.
“A total of 100 participants including men and women were selected in the two states through the conduct of a baseline survey. A model ranches were established in Niger State while 9 hectares of grazing farm was established in Kaduna state.
“Infrastructures such as solar-powered borehole, fenced areas, pasture developed reticulated water point for animals and human, drip irrigation, accommodation for extension staff and training sheds were also established,” he noted.
Also, capacity building training for skills and modern production technologies to fast-track the productivity was conducted in key thematic areas such as feed, fodder development, establishment, management, conservation and value addition with agribusiness development for both farmers, pastoralists, commercial pasture producers, commercial farms and extension staff.
He said the training also bothers on “milk production, milk hygiene, dairy disease of economic importance, herd health management, milk producer cooperative association for pastoralists, commercial milk process to enhance an interface for milk off-take by processors, and so many more.”
For sustainability of the project, FAO also conducted training on community-based animal health workers and pastoralists animal health management, safety measures and artificial insemination.
The trainees who live in the communities where these projects are piloted are expected to provide basic services for the pastoralists and report cases of severe threat to animals.
While appreciating FAO for the project in Kaduna State, the Commissioner of Agriculture in Kaduna State, Ibrahim Hussaini, assured that the project would be sustained through the involvement of the private sector to drive the project and inclusion of more beneficiaries.
“Kaduna State is in the forefront of getting private investors in most of its projects because we believe private sector driven investments are more sustainable,” he noted.