The Country Representative of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in Nigeria, Dr Tunde Amole, has urged the government and private sector to partner in livestock feeds production.
Amole, who identified scarcity of livestock feeds as the major challenge facing the development of the country’s livestock farming sector said that the cooperation between government and the private sector would improve its production in the country.
According to him, the inadequate availability of livestock feeds contributed to the high cost and low quality of egg, meat and milk, among other dairy products.
“To improve livestock farming, the government and interest-based organizations should invest more in the production of animal feeds in Nigeria. Poor quality feeds severely cripple the development of livestock farming. For example, natural grass and herbage in northern in the country, where the bulk of the livestock are raised, produce less than the minimum of six per cent protein.
“In order to improve livestock production in Nigeria, adequate attention should be paid to the animals’ nutrition. Low-cost feeds and supplements should be made available to livestock farmers,” he said.
Amole, who is also a livestock scientist, said that ILRI had been engaging farmers in livestock research to facilitate the discovery of useful technological methods and innovations that would improve livestock farming in the country.
He said that the institute had been training some livestock farmers in livestock feeding procedures, livestock feeds business opportunities and biotechnological techniques to improve the breed of their cattle.
“As an institute, we have been able to identify that one of the major problems we have in livestock production in Nigeria is livestock feeding and feeding is critical in the dry season. “This is why we have been training farmers in crop residue utilization, which is how to conserve feeds for the dry season, so that our cattle will not have problems, while improving the productivity of livestock farming.
“However, farmers alone cannot boost and strengthen the production and improvement of livestock feed resources. This is why the government and private support is important” he explained.
The (ILRI) Country Representative noted that while there were several agribusinesses with high potential for profitability, livestock feeds production was a great one to venture into, if executed at the right scale for the local markets and exports.