…Set to sanitise abattoirs
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Abubakar, has commissioned a demonstration cottage poultry processing facility to set the pace for the transformation of the livestock sub-sector, as well as provide a clean and hygienic environment for the processing of the birds.
Speaking during the commissioning of a cottage poultry processing facility at Dei-Dei Livestock Market yesterday in Abuja, he said the potentials of the poultry value chain were enormous and diverse.
“The chain has provided ample opportunities and raw materials for small, medium and large-scale businesses to thrive in Nigeria, creating numerous jobs, increasing means of livelihood and improving nutrition in several Nigerian homes.”
As such, the minister stated that it was time to ensure that the markets provide healthy protein to the public to maintain a healthy population.
Abubakar stated that the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report that Nigeria is the largest annual egg producer with the second-largest chicken population in Africa, amounting to about 180 million birds – 44 per cent of them raised in extensive systems, 33 per cent in semi-intensive and 23 per cent in intensive systems which makes the industry “a priority and an asset to protect”.
He said: “Currently, over 85 million people are involved in one form of poultry business or another, making the sector imperative for job-creation and income-generation for farmers, processors, marketers and for the country”.
The minister appealed to states and local governments to adopt and replicate the project for the benefit of their states.
In a goodwill message, the chairman, House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, Alhaji Munir Danagundi, commended the ministry for constructing the facility, noting that it will create more opportunities for the poultry farmers to operate in a more hygienic environment and sell healthy and quality protein to the public.
In her welcome address, the director of animal husbandry services department in the ministry, Dr. Winnie Solarin, said that the cottage poultry processing facility would fast-track the practices in the livestock sub-sector towards creating more jobs, increase production and boost revenue for poultry farmers. She also added that the initiative would ensure better practices in the processing and storage of poultry products.
The processing facility also has a cold room meant for the preservation of processed poultry products.
In a related event, the minister commissioned a communication centre and also laid the foundation for the administrative block at the council’s headquarters in Abuja. While commissioning the project, the minister said: “The facility comprises of a digital museum and documentation centre for referencing agricultural research information and knowledge, an electronic library to aid research by providing greater access to recent advances in agricultural sciences and the television and radio stations which will link millions of Nigerian farmers and stakeholders to first-hand agricultural information.
‘‘The building meant to house 27 offices will serve as office space for some staff of the council and international research stakeholders. The use of the facility is expected to strengthen research collaborations, as well as provide a platform for timely dissemination of agricultural information and showcasing of agricultural interventions in the country.
“The recent signing into law of the ARCN Amendment Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari has placed additional responsibilities on the council, to form linkages with all international donor agencies, which makes it mandatory for the council to accommodate some of these agencies within its premises as obtainable in other countries.
‘’All the research institutes and colleges must activate all the adopted villages and outreach centres across the country, which are formidable tools for the dissemination of technologies to agrarian communities and to support the ministry’s drive towards making extension services delivery in the country more efficient.”
In his remarks, the executive governor of Plateau State, Rt. Hon. Simon Lalong, lauded the Federal Government’s diversification policy geared towards food–sufficiency, job creation and economic growth.
“We must improve our research to enhance better food production and increase income for local farmers,” he said.
Speaking at the event also, the chairman, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, called the project “an achievement, a dream come true to reposition the research council for optimal performance”.
In his welcome address, the executive secretary, Agricultural Research Council of Nigeria (ARCN), Prof. Garba Sharubutu, said that the establishment of the communication system will assist in the dissemination of information to farmers across the nation and aid proper documentation of modern research findings for improved crop production.
A statement by the ministry’s director, information, made available to Science Nigeria by the principal information officer, Mrs. Juliet Okeh, said in other separate events that took place at the ministry, the minister received the ambassadors of China and Cuba to Nigeria – His Excellency, Ambassador Chi Jianchun and Her Excellency, Ambassador Clara Pulido Escandell, who paid a courtesy call to the minister to discuss areas of cooperation, collaboration and investment between Nigeria and their respective countries.