By Gabriel Ewepu – Abuja
The Federal Government, Friday, charged the Nigerian Institute of Animal Science, NIAS, on proffering solutions to the incessant herders/farmers conflict threatening food availability, affordability, and security.
The charge was given by the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mohammed Nanono, at the inauguration of the 5th Council of NIAS in Abuja.
According to Nanono, the Prof. Abubakar-led Council is replete with men and women of quality to serve as a driving force and motivation to the management of the Institute to consolidate on the achievements of the past, and continue to deliver on the mandates of the Institute to meet the yearnings and aspirations of the agenda of the government on food security.
The Institute’s Council election was held on 17 November 2020 during its annual conference in Abuja.
He said: “I have no iota of doubt that this Council, filled with an array of accomplished Animal Scientists of various professional disciplines, will fulfill its core function, which is to offer leadership in the governance of the affairs of the Institute to continue to deliver on its mandates.
“I am particularly happy that the Institute, since its inception in 2007 by Act No. 26 of 2007 (as Amended 2015), has proved its mettle in the fight to engender National self-sufficiency in safe animal protein intake through appropriate regulations of the livestock industry.
“Particularly worthy of mention are the Regulation for the Feed Milling Industry and Regulation for Breeder Farms, Hatchery Operations and Day-Old Chicks Quality in Nigeria.
“These regulations have been in tune with the Agricultural Promotion Policy, the National policy framework for driving the growth and development of the agriculture sector by the Federal Government, under the able leadership President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.
“The regulations are indeed potent in curbing quackery and promoting the safety of animal products and trade competitiveness. Worthy of mention also is the Institute’s facilitation of capacity building in the livestock subsector. As the saying goes: “If you know better, you will do better”. Regulation without any platform for capacity building is like wielding the stick without the carrot.
“However, there is still a lot of ground to be covered if the Institute must fully deliver on its mandate and remain relevant as a key regulatory body in the livestock subsector. We must forge ahead without losing track of the achievement of the past.
“The Institute must not shy away from playing a deserved lead role in proffering the needed solution to the current burning issue of incessant conflicts between herders and sedentary farming communities in Nigeria.
“Land resource is indeed scarce and not expandable, but science has proven that we can generate all we need with renewable agricultural strategies for both crop and livestock production from the available land resource without any form of conflict. I strongly call on the Institute to come up with scientific and practicable models that the government can adopt to finally lay to rest this front-burning problem.
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“The nation needs to quickly transit from this conflicted era to becoming a net exporter of premium beef, emulating and surpassing the enviable achievements of countries like Uruguay which has metamorphosed over the recent years into a leading exporter of premium beef to the EU, US, and even the Chinese markets. It took Uruguay years of branding, food safety, and quality reforms as well as investment to get to that enviable market leadership. It will take us nothing less.”
The Minister also disclosed that the Ministry has handed over the National Livestock Training Centre to the Institute.
“I am confident that you will put the facility to efficient use not only in training but also in the establishment of model units for livestock production that will impact the economy through improved livestock productivity”, he said.
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