The Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, NIAS, has disclosed that the nation’s livestock industry could be galvanized into a major revenue source for the country with application of technology and innovations.
The Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of NIAS, Prof Eustace Iyayi, stated this at a press conference yesterday ahead of its annual holding in November in Abuja with the theme, “Improved Technology: A key Strategy for Enhanced Livestock Productivity and National Economic Development”.
He said the conference will address challenges facing animal husbandry industry in Nigeria, where the 6, 000 registered members will brainstorm on solutions to the challenges.
Ajayi stated: “The growth of Nigeria animal husbandry has been stunted, aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic and the lack of necessary support, despite the large number of trained animal scientists, with 6000 registered with the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science and the huge potential for youth employment and indeed national economic rebirth.”
He said the value of the industry currently stands at about N13 trillion. Speaking further, Ajayi stated: “The animal scientist believes that in order to arrest youth restiveness and perennial farmer-herder conflict in the post COVID-19 period, the application of technology and innovation to promote production, processing and agricultural trade thought effective competitiveness, market access and penetration that will positively affect our national economy is a sine qua non.”
He lamented high import bills on animal products and its derivatives despite Nigeria’s comparative advantage, a situation he said is not sustainable due to dwindling foreign exchange earnings.
“Therefore the outcome of discussion at the meeting will be useful for policy alignment by government to help engender developmental research, innovation platforms and practitioners engagement that will stimulate interaction for economic renaissance with animal agriculture as pivot,” he concluded.