The federal government says it is targeting 1.6 billion litres of milk per annum for self-sufficiency in livestock products and animal protein needs.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammad Abubakar, disclosed this on Tuesday while inaugurating the National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP), in Paikon Kore grazing reserve, FCT.
Mr Abubakar said the renewed focus on the livestock sector, especially in pasture development played an important role in providing an economical source of ruminant livestock feed, and improved productivity for food and human security.
“It is worth noting that more than 95 per cent of Nigeria′s ruminant production is primarily managed under the traditional pastoral system.”
He said it was a characteristic of an extensive system where naturally grown pastures were the main source of nutrition for the animals.
“Therefore, herders and husbanders rely on mobility in search of feeds, water, and friendly grazing areas.
“The result of this continuous movement in search of pasture has adversely affected the animals’ attainment of their optimal productivity and consistently impaired our national capacity for self-sufficiency.
It also affected “livestock products and animal protein needs, especially our national target of 1.6 billion litres of milk per annum.”
“Our current ranking by FAO is 15th in the world in cattle, fifth in sheep and third in goat, and 17th in camel farming.
“The continuous extensive system of production is not a viable option since the land area for grazing and feed availability are severely limiting factors in the high livestock producing zones of Nigeria.
“It is therefore very necessary and top priority that all players in the industry focus on meeting the huge demand for pasture.
“This will give a great opportunity to unlock the potential of the Livestock Industry and the development of its rich value chains,” he said.
He urged partners within the industry, especially researchers, academia, sub-national governments, international development partners and the private sector to embrace the National Pasture Development Programme (NAPDEP).