The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has commenced the training of livestock experts to assist households affected by crisis in re-building their key assets, as part of the organisation’s emergency livestock recovery programme.
Speaking at a five-day training in Abuja , Mr Suffyan Koroma, the FAO Country Representative, said the training was termed `Livestock Emergency Guidelines and Standards’ (LEGS).
The move was also aimed at mitigating the effects of insurgence and conflicts on livestock husbandry in crisis affected parts of the country.
Koroma, represented by Mr Ahmed Matane, the Assistant FAO Representative (Programmes), said the training was to assist livestock experts to design, implement and assess interventions for livestock owning households and communities.
He said that LEGS was a set of guidelines and support services used globally to ensure high standards in livestock-based emergency responses.
Koroma noted that LEGS was aimed at providing immediate and urgently needed benefits to crisis affected livestock owning communities, protecting livestock related assets and assisting households in re-building their key assets.
The representative said the organisation had also distributed 40,400 goats to 10,000 households across the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps and host communities in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe States to restock their lost productive assets.
He disclosed that FAO would also distribute more than 17,000 goats to 4,400 households and poultry kits to about 7,200 households before the end of 2018.
“Livestock rearing is a major livelihood in Nigeria particularly along the northern areas which houses an estimated 70 per cent of all ruminants and 80 per cent of the nation’s cattle.
“Many of the people who depend on livestock rearing are subject to an unprecedented range of challenges like drought, erratic rainfall and floods and armed conflict in areas like the northeast.
“LEGS is smallholder-oriented and grounded in the sustainable livelihoods approach.
“Timely and appropriate livestock interventions are key to boosting resilience and freeing households from dependence on food distribution and other forms of assistance,’’ he explained.
Dr Bukar Hassan, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that animal production had been projected to be the most important aspect of agriculture in terms of value addition by 2020.
Hassan, was represented by Mr John Taiwo, the Director, Husbandry in the ministry.
He regretted that the potentials of the sub-sector had come under threat with the persistent conflicts in the North-east, middle belt and other parts of the country.
Hassan who commended FAO for its intervention, added that mitigating the effects of insurgence and conflicts on livestock husbandry was an unfamiliar ground for the country.
“LEGS is timely and apt and shall hopefully build capacity of critical stakeholders and boost confidence in the processes of attendance to national contemporary challenges,’’ he said.
Mr Mohammed Alkali, Relief and Rehabilitation Officer of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), North East Zone, said that NEMA had been giving livestock recovery interventions in the zone.
Alkali, however, noted that the training would help to widen their knowledge in terms of giving better emergency livestock recovery approach to enable the people to improve their means of livelihood.