Climate Change: Minister Urges Collaborative Efforts In Livestock Sector

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L-R: The Minister of State, Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi, National president, National Veterinary Medical Association of Nigeria, Dr. Adetuberu Olutoyin, Representative of Lagos State governor, commissioner of agriculture, Hon. Ruth Abisola and the Director, public health division, FMAFS, Dr. Samuel Anzaku during the meeting in Lagos.

The Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Security, Sen. Aliyu Abdullahi has called for strengthened collaboration among stakeholders in the livestock sub-sector to combat the challenges affecting food and nutrition security in Nigeria.

The minister made this appeal during the opening ceremony of the 59th Congress and Annual General Meeting of the National Veterinary Medical Association of Nigeria (NVMA) in Lagos State.

The event, themed “The Changing Spectrum of the Global Economy and Need for Professions to Align with Global Realities”, was considered highly relevant given the current challenges faced by Nigeria and the global community.

Abdullahi highlighted those issues such as climate change, increased outbreaks of transboundary animal diseases, emerging and re-emerging zoonotic diseases, natural disasters, insecurity and persistent farmer-herder clashes in sub-Saharan Africa are adversely affecting people’s livelihoods and posing threats to global peace, food security and nutritional well-being.

He pointed out that various factors, including the pandemic threat, worsening impacts of climate change, and slow income growth, are clouding the prospects for economic growth and undermining the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These SDGs encompass objectives like poverty eradication, ending hunger, promoting decent work and economic growth, building resilient infrastructure and fostering innovation.

“In light of these factors, President Bola Tinubu, has made food security, economic growth, poverty eradication, inclusiveness and other key areas the main focus of his Renewed Hope agenda,” Abdullahi stated.

The minister emphasised that the ministry has developed a robust roadmap to significantly enhance national food security. They are rapidly mobilising efforts, guided by consultations and active participation of critical stakeholders, to reverse the current food crisis situation in the country, which will accelerate progress toward sustainable development.

He also noted that the livestock sub-sector accounts for about 10 per cent of the national GDP, 25 per cent of agricultural GDP and provides livelihoods to over 30 per cent of Nigeria’s rural population. However, the sub-sector’s full potential remains untapped due to various challenges, including a wide range of animal diseases and inadequate improvements in livestock genetic potential.

Abdullahi highlighted the sub-sector’s potential to provide an ample supply of meat, milk, eggs for human consumption and valuable by-products like hides, skins, hooves, horns and tallows, which serve as industrial raw materials.

To bridge the gap in the availability, affordability, and safety of animal-origin food and products, the minister stressed the importance of maximizing livestock production and productivity. This can be achieved through effective and strategic animal disease prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment.

He also shared the ministry’s critical activities aimed at enhancing animal health services delivery nationwide, such as developing a national animal health policy and strategic plans to address major transboundary animal diseases, aquatic animal disease prevention and control and the elimination of dog-mediated human rabies.

Abdullahi disclosed plans to hold a National Agriculture and Food Security Summit in November 2023, involving the government at all levels, the organised private sector, international investors and bodies.

He urged veterinary professionals to consider disease and pest outbreaks as their contributions to national development objectives, as the forum provides a platform for exchanging ideas to elevate the profession.

Representing the governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the State Commissioner for Agriculture, Hon. Ruth Abisola Olusanya conveyed the state’s commitment to elevate agriculture and the food system as the cornerstone of its economy. Lagos State has launched a five-year agricultural and food system roadmap to attract private sector players, multinational investors and NGOs to enhance food security.

The national president of NVMA, Dr. Adetuberu Olutoyin emphasised that the meeting reflects the Association’s shared commitment to ensuring food safety and promoting animal health and welfare. She believed the forum would inspire the profession to achieve greater heights.

During the event, the minister, executive governor and other dignitaries inspected the exhibition pavilion, which showcased the livestock sub-sector’s efforts to address the challenges and contribute to food security.

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