COVID-19: Group seeks more responsive management to boost livestock production
A group of agricultural experts, Nigerian Forum for Agricultural Advisory Services (NIFAAS), has called for boosting of the livestock sub-sector amidst COVID-19 pandemic challenges plaguing it.
The group made the call in a statement to news men signed by Mr Ismail Olawale of the E-extension Department NAERLS, ABU Zaria on Monday in Lagos, following a virtual meeting it held recently.
Some of the measures activated by the government to curtail the spread of the pandemic and reduce casualties and deaths had tremendously affected livestock production and products distribution in the country.
The statement quoted Prof. Akin Adesehinwa of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Obafemi Awolowo University in the virtual meeting, as saying the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively impacted the agricultural sector.
Adesehinwa said that actions taken in many countries including Nigeria such as lockdown, travel restrictions and border controls, had resulted in unintended or negative consequences on the livestock subsector of agriculture.
“These including but not limited to difficulty in moving live animals and animal products like milk, meat and eggs to markets,’’ he said.
The don said that the restriction on movement had led to the decrease in the processing capacity for animal products.
He said that it also led to the loss of sales due to production glut, sluggish and abnormal market activity and the reduction in the capacity of experts to prevent and control animal diseases across the country.
According to the don, there has been increase in the cases of trans-boundary animal diseases such as African swine fever, foot and mouth disease and other infectious animal diseases.
He said that the prevention and control of the disease had been severely compromised by the lockdown.
Also at the meeting, Mr Jayaram Dinginkar, the Director of Sunseed Nigeria Ltd., Zaria observed that animal feed and the inputs to produce them had also been affected by the lockdown.
Dinginkar said that the prices of chicken feed had increased, while the market for chicken had dropped, while the demand for broiler feed by poultry farmers had reduced significantly.
On his part, Dr Tunji Iyiola-Tunji, the National Agricultural Extension Research and Liaison Services, (NAERLS ), Ahmadu Bello University, said the group came together for some professional discussions.
He said that the discussion was aimed at coming up with feasible ways to help the Nigerian livestock sub-sector remain productive during and after the pandemic.
The don tasked livestock value chain actors – livestock farmers, slaughterhouse workers and animal product processors, traders, animal husbandry and health professionals to ensure inputs and livestock products were consistently available by sharing accurate information.
He said the group tasked policy makers and other relevant stakeholders such as the extension and advisory services workers to also ensure inputs and livestock products were consistently available by sharing accurate information.
“These pieces of information on exemption should be shared with the relevant stakeholders using various channels such as mass media, interest groups or associations,’’ he said.
The group advised the government to review and adapt some of the existing biosafety and biosecurity measures to the COVID-19 situation as a checklist to farms, livestock product processing facilities, live animal markets and slaughter houses and related value chains.
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