A veterinary doctor, Dr Mutiu Oladele-Bukola has said livestock research, development could only be effective if attention was given to the farmers’ needs.
Oladele-Bukola, a don at the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, disclosed this in Ibadan.
He said that developing the capacity of the rural households to manage small livestock, such as dairy goats, would impact positively on people’s abilities to challenge poverty and under-nutrition.
The veterinarian said that strategies were needed to engage poor households and minimise potential negative impacts of larger-scale livestock intensification on smallholder farmers.
He said that youths should be engaged in Rural Youth Vocational Training, Integration in Agricultural value-chains and Entrepreneurship project.
According to him, livestock plays a key role in the lives of poor people in developing countries, providing a major proportion of their cash income, capital assets, draught power, fuel and fertiliser.
He added that the high demands for animal-based foods and increasingly complex processing and marketing systems offered significant opportunities for growth and poverty reduction at every stage in the value chain.
“Productivity growth in agriculture is central to economic growth, poverty reduction and food security.
“Agricultural growth reduces poverty more strongly than growth in other sectors.
“The livestock sector is one of the fastest-growing segments of the agricultural economy, particularly, in the developing world.’’
Oladele-Bukola said that they should also be carefully managed to ensure that women and men have the same prospects in this rapidly changing sector.
“Policy reforms, institutional support as well as public and private investments are urgently needed.
‘‘They are better methods that will ensure that the survival of livestock are necessary incentives for small-hold farmers to invest their resources,”
Oladele-Bukola also noted that the promotion of livestock would facilitate creation of jobs and food production.
He said that it could also support food security through income growth and poverty reduction, which he added were crucial to human development.
“Livestock contributes to the stability of food security of rural households by serving as an asset, a store of value and a safety net.
“Livestock can be used as collateral for credit, sold for income or consumed directly in times of crisis.
‘‘Livestock also provides draught power, fertiliser and serves as pest control in mixed farming systems, contributing to total farm productivity and, hence, to food security.’’
He said that research had shown that livestock products were excellent sources of high-quality protein.
He added that they also contained essential micronutrients such as vitamin B, iron and zinc.
The veterinarian said that these micronutrients were important for mothers and small children, who might not be able to obtain them from plant-based diets.
He said that high nutrient density of animal foods was advantageous for the vulnerable groups such as infants, children and people.
The expert said this was because these groups could have difficulties in consuming large volumes of food needed to meet their nutritional requirements.
Oladele-Bukola said that better access to foods from livestock and nutrition education would be a strategic intervention for avoiding poverty and micronutrient–malnutrition trap.